Mahathir’s sacking from PPBM won’t affect Malay votes in Chini, say analysts

Analyst Kamarul Zaman Yusoff notes that Chini lies within Najib Razak’s stronghold of Pekan.

PETALING JAYA: Two analysts are of the opinion that Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s sacking from PPBM will not greatly affect how the Malays will vote in the upcoming Chini by-election.

Azmi Hassan of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia said only a “non-significant number” of Malay voters would be alienated, and Kamarul Zaman Yusoff of Universiti Utara Malaysia described the former prime minister’s influence in Chini as “very negligible”.

Azmi said most of PPBM’s electoral victories in 2018 were accomplished with a lot of help from DAP, PKR and Amanah supporters.

PPBM quit the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition last February.

In terms of popularity among Malay voters, Azmi said, PPBM trailed behind Umno and PAS, which have since joined forces.

Azmi Hassan

“The non-Malay voters who supported PPBM in GE14 will no doubt still support PH, regardless of Mahathir’s sacking,” he told FMT.

He said a better way to gauge the impact of Mahathir’s sacking was to see if it would cause defections from PPBM.

Kamarul said he doubted that Mahathir had much influence in the entire state of Pahang.

He noted that Chini, a state constituency, lies within former prime minister Najib Razak’s stronghold of Pekan, for which he is the MP.

Kamarul Zaman Yusoff

“Mahathir’s sacking from PPBM will probably boost votes for Umno,” he said.

Kamarul criticised Mahathir for being “neither here nor there” on various issues and said he was slowly fading into oblivion, perhaps retaining some popularity only in his home state of Kedah.

The Chini by-election will be held on July 4. The seat fell vacant with the death of Abu Bakar Harun of Umno, who won it with a 4,622 majority in a contest against PAS and Pakatan Harapan.

On Thursday night, PPBM terminated the membership of Mahathir and four others because they sat with opposition members during the Dewan Rakyat sitting of May 18.

The other four are Mahathir’s son Mukhriz, Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, Amiruddin Hamzah and Maszlee Malik.

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