PETALING JAYA: Amanah’s poor performance in the general election was because the party has little traction with Malay-Muslim voters, says an analyst.
Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara said PAS members and supporters viewed Amanah as traitorous, whose members split from PAS in 2015 to set up the party as a member of Pakatan Harapan.
“Malay-Muslim voters want a party they see as protecting their interests, race and religion hence their obvious choice is PAS. Not Umno or Amanah,” he told FMT.
Amanah’s affiliation with DAP led Malay-Muslim voters to fear that their interests would be sidelined in favour of other racial communities.
PH comprises PKR, DAP, Amanah and Sabah-based Upko.
Azmi said although Amanah was unable to draw the Malay-Muslim votes, disbanding or absorbing the party into PKR would not help the coalition.
“Amanah is a rival to PAS and totally different from PKR in attracting Malay votes. It should remain as is,” he said.
Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs said Amanah enjoyed a degree of Malay-Muslim support in the urban and suburban seats but could hardly make a dent in the Malay heartlands which continue to prefer the more conservative and “hardcore” religious ethos of PAS.
“Disbanding Amanah would imply a surrender in the battle for Malay-Muslim voters but absorption into PKR and DAP would also not help as it would not make the Amanah remnants or the two parties more palatable to the same voter cohort,” he said.
To him, leaving Amanah as is was the best solution and he saw the party eventually becoming irrelevant as the “religious radicalisation” trend swamped it.
On the other hand, Azmil Tayeb of Universiti Sains Malaysia said Amanah should be absorbed into PKR because its machinery and grassroots setup left a lot to be desired especially when compared to the latter.
“Amanah is unable to compete with PAS for the same Malay voters and its affiliation with DAP is also a (contributing) factor in being unable to garner the Malay votes,” he said.
Some former Amanah bigwigs were defeated at the Nov 19 polls.
Mujahid Yusof Rawa lost in Parit Buntar to Misbahul Munir Masduki of PAS by 5,395 votes; Mahfuz Omar in Pokok Sena to Ahmad Saad @ Yahaya by 31,751 votes; Hatta Ramli in Lumut to Nordin Ahmad Ismail of Bersatu by 363 votes; and Khalid Samad, who lost to Johari Ghani (BN) in Titiwangsa by 4,632 votes.
Bersatu and PAS are members of Perikatan Nasional, which won a total of 73 seats, of which PAS won 49.