Sabah polls unlikely to cause snap GE, say analysts

An election for seats to the Sabah state assembly must be held within 60 days. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The outcome of the impending state elections in Sabah are unlikely to compel Prime Muhyiddin Yassin to call for a general election soon despite current speculation, according to political analysts.

Kamarul Zaman Yusoff of Universiti Utara Malaysia said a snap general election was “highly unlikely”, as the results of state elections would have no bearing on the position of the federal government.

Muhyiddin would still be able to govern even with a slim majority in Parliament.

“If anything, the results of the Sabah election would be useful in gauging people’s support towards the Perikatan Nasional government,” he said. “My prediction is that PN will win convincingly in Sabah, which will in turn help solidify Muhyiddin’s government by garnering support from more MPs,” he told FMT.

Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said Muhyiddin would not rush into dissolving Parliament and would take a more cautious approach, as Umno and PAS have a greater potential to win and dominate a general election.

“If so, Muhyiddin’s chances of retaining the premiership would be slim,” he said.

Oh Ei Sun, a fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said there would be no snap general election even if Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal “wins big” in the state elections.

Shafie, who is Warisan president, is “the person Muhyiddin has to worry the least about,” said Oh. “He needs to sort out his conflicts with Umno first.”

Universiti Sains Malaysia lecturer Sivamurugan Pandian said Muhyiddin did not need to call a general election while he was still working on PN as a formal coalition, while also considering a collaboration with Muafakat Nasional, the alliance of Umno and PAS.

“Until then, we can assume he will not call for a snap election,” Sivamurugan said.

Umno said yesterday that the party would not become a member of PN, but focus on strengthening Muafakat Nasional. However the party would continue to support PH to keep the coalition in power at the federal government and several state administrations, said party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.