Poor grassroots backing spells trouble for PPBM state chiefs

Umno members may reject PPBM leaders who used to be in the party, says an analyst.

PETALING JAYA: Two political analysts foresee trouble for some PPBM state chiefs when it is time to negotiate with the party’s allies for seats to contest in the 15th general election.

Azmi Hassan of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said PPBM’s lack of grassroots support would put the state leaders at a disadvantage in the negotiations.

Azmi said they would face problems when assigning seats to PPBM leaders who used to be Umno members because the Umno grassroots might reject them.

Awang Azman said the state chiefs would have to increase grassroots support to ensure success not only in seat negotiations but also in the general election.

Azmi Hassan.

“Will they be able to do that?” he asked.

They were commenting on PPBM’s recent release of its new leadership list.

Azmi noted that Perak Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu is now doubling up as Pahang state chief, and Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin, who is from Perak, has been appointed to lead the party in Perlis.

He wondered how they would fare in negotiations for state seats.

He also said voters would still see Hamzah as a former Umno leader despite his prominence in PPBM and the same applied to Mustapa Mohamed, the party chief in Kelantan.

“Which seat should they be given in GE15? If BN and PPBM agree to give them safe Malay-majority seats, they may be rejected by Umno voters,” he said.

Awang Azman Pawi.

He said the state chiefs would have to work hard to win the support of not only those who backed Pakatan Harapan in GE14, but also of Umno voters.

Azmi also said PPBM would need to win most of the seats it would be vying for in the Sabah state election to show it has grassroots support.

“This will give it some bargaining power in seat negotiations for GE15,” he said.

Awang Azman said PPBM would also have to contend with Pejuang, the new party that is a splinter from it led by its former chairman, Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He also said the party should have placed its associate member, Edmund Santhara, in the leadership line-up to encourage non-Malays to beef up its grassroots support.