PAS likely to cling on to east coast seats, says analyst

An analyst says PAS has so far resisted Umno’s move for more seats in Kelantan and Terengganu.

PETALING JAYA: With PAS wanting to play kingmaker in the next general election, it will try and secure as many seats as possible, but analysts say there could be trouble brewing if it refuses to give up seats in Kelantan and Terengganu to its political ally, Umno.

PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan said Perikatan Nasional (PN) has set up three negotiation teams made up of PAS, PPBM and Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders.

The formula, he told FMT, is to maintain the status quo but seats won by Pakatan Harapan during GE14 would be negotiated among the three parties.

But political analyst Azmi Hassan said there might be trouble brewing as PAS may not want to give up its parliamentary and state seats in Kelantan and Terengganu to Umno.

He said Umno had asked for seats in the two states from PAS previously, but was met with resistance.

“PAS must know its support outside Kelantan and Terengganu is still weak. If it wants to expand its reach to other states, it will have to give in to Umno,” he said.

Azmi Hassan.

Azmi, who retired from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia recently, said PAS would need to show “sincerity” in sharing seats with Umno before it could negotiate for more seats nationwide.

He said PAS had been trying to place itself strategically by working with both Umno through Muafakat Nasional, and PPBM through PN.

“They are trying to find any opportunity they can to be kingmaker,” he said, but cautioned that BN might break away from PAS if it was unhappy with the party.

Azmi said BN had the machinery and capability to go it alone.

“That is why it may be wise for PAS to show its sincerity first by sharing its state seats with Umno,” he said.

Recently, Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan had sarcastically said that Umno might as well dissolve its chapters and divisions in Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah if PAS wished to exclusively hold on to these states rather than negotiate with its allies.

Mohamad was quoted in the Utusan daily as saying it might be unfair for Umno to surrender the states to PAS.

“If that’s the case then we might as well dissolve Umno in those states,” he was quoted as saying.

Jayum Jawah

Political analyst Jayum Jawan of Universiti Putra Malaysia feels it would be best for Umno to leave Kelantan and Terengganu alone.

“Kelantan and Terengganu are PAS’s states. Why should they give in?

“PAS won without anyone’s help and its hardcore members may not be happy giving seats away to Umno,” he told FMT.

Jayum said Umno’s strategy was to claim at least a few seats in the two states to eventually expand its power there.

“Umno may be trying strategically to think of going beyond GE15 to capture seats they are weak in,” he said.

However, he said Umno should work with PAS as the present political scenario required at least two parties to work together to garner support.

“It is no longer like 30 to 40 years ago where BN could win hands down with a clear majority,” he said.

In the last general election, PAS won 18 of the 158 parliamentary seats it contested with its Gagasan Sejahtera allies, Parti Ikatan Bangsa Malaysia and Parti Berjasa Malaysia.