An election lesson for Perikatan: don’t tangle with BN

A supporter of Perikatan Nasional in prayer on a rainy day during the Sabah election campaign.

PETALING JAYA: In the wake of Gabungan Rakyat Sabah’s victory at the Sabah elections, a political analyst has warned Perikatan Nasional that it cannot afford to be at odds with Barisan Nasional if they hoped to win the next parliamentary general election.

Jeniri Amir, a senior fellow of the National Council of Professors, said last night’s election results were a clear message to PN that the coalition could not afford a fight with their BN allies if they wanted to win.

GRS comprises PN, BN and PBS.

The coalition’s election success in Sabah comes just days after Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi revealed that some Umno MPs were in favour of PKR president Anwar Ibrahim holding the post of prime minister instead of PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin.

A senior Umno member, Nazri Aziz, had also told FMT of unhappiness in Umno over how the party was treated by PPBM.

Jeniri Amir, a senior fellow of the National Council of Professors.

Jeneri said: “If Umno and BN are unhappy, they need to find a formula for peace, because Sabah shows that they are stronger when united, even though their election campaign began much later compared to Warisan Plus.

Jeniri also highlighted the role of former state Umno leader Musa Aman, whose attempt to wrest the Sabah government from Warisan had triggered the election.

“In campaigning for BN, PN and PBS, he embodied the cooperation needed at federal level,” said Jeniri.

Musa, who was the assemblyman for Sungai Sibuga, did not contest in yesterday’s elections.

Jeniri said the popularity of prime minister Muhyiddin was also a factor in PN’s success.

However, the defeat of Warisan and its partners in Pakatan Harapan was a “big slap” in their faces and the results showed that “PH cannot even retain the support they obtained in the last general election”, said Jeniri.

“It is clear that people in Sabah were fed up with life under Warisan, there were a lot of unfulfilled promises and they wanted change.”

Azmi Hassan of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

He added the blunders of Warisan leaders, including the controversial remarks made by Warisan’s Segama candidate, Mohamaddin Ketapi on the Lahad Datu intrusion, had cost them votes, especially in Kadazan seats.

Jeniri said he believed the people were happy with Muhyiddin’s leadership and handling of Covid-19 and the appeal of a state government that is aligned to Putrajaya.

However, political analyst Azmi Hassan of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia said he would not be surprised if Warisan assemblymen switched allegiance to Perikatan Nasional following their defeat last night.

He said the election results were a “big blow” especially to Warisan, which he said had performed miserably after raising such high expectations. On the other hand, DAP candidates had performed very well compared to those of PKR, he said.

Click here for the latest on the Sabah polls