Kingmaker or dud? Analysts differ on Anifah’s party

PCS president Anifah Aman speaking during a press conference in Kota Kinabalu last Monday.

KOTA KINABALU: Political analysts disagree on the impact Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS), now led by former foreign minister Anifah Aman, could have in the coming snap state election.

Last month, the former Umno strongman took over the reigns of the party, which is touted as a possible contender to win a handful of seats due to his influence and stature.

PCS aspires to form the next state government and though preferring to approach the polls on their own for now, it is believed the party is open to potential collaboration.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah senior lecturer Lee Kuok Tiung, however, feels that despite Anifah being the pull factor, PCS still needs to align itself with other parties to really make an impact.

Lee Kuok Tiung

“PCS is considered a new party after its rebranding. Time is not on their side as nobody expected the sudden state election,” he told FMT.

“I believe some of their candidates can win the seats they contest based on individual mileage but as a party, I doubt PCS has the strong grassroots support needed to take over the government.

“They need allies. It will be an uphill task if they go at it alone.”

PCS, widely known as a KadazanDusun Murut (KDM) party, was approved by the Registrar of Societies (RoS) in 2013.

It was previously led by former Sabah deputy chief minister Wilfred Bumburing who is now the party’s deputy president.

The party has undergone a rebranding process since late last month in its efforts to be known as a multi-racial party. This included changing its name to Parti Kesedaran Rakyat Sabah, but this is pending approval from the RoS.

Tony Paridi Bagang

Meanwhile, Sabah UiTM’s Tony Paridi Bagang believes PCS could be a kingmaker if it remained on its own in the election.

“This depends on the outcome of the polls. In the event they agree to be part of any so-called coalition, then a hung assembly may not happen.

“If they remain independent, they could become kingmakers,” he said, adding other parties such as Perikatan Nasional (PN) allies STAR and PBS could also be kingmakers if they were not part of any political pact.

Bagang conceded, however, that it was still too early to say whether PCS could perform well in this state election.

“Nevertheless, with PCS joining the battlefield, I suppose the party could split the votes. Many small parties have expressed their intention to contest too.

“Anyhow, this would be a litmus test for PCS under Anifah’s leadership as they could be seen as the third force.

“I believe that the bigger challenge is how PCS can convince voters that they are better than Warisan, Pakatan Harapan, Umno and the other parties contesting,” he said.

Their chances would depend on their choice of candidates and the seats they contest, Bagang added.