PETALING JAYA: Selangor can no longer be considered a Pakatan Harapan (PH) stronghold, with its dominance set to be tested in next year’s state election, say analysts.
Universiti Teknologi Mara’s Noor Nirwandy Mat Noordin and Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara said PH was likely to face stiff competition from Perikatan Nasional (PN) for seats in the Malay majority areas.
They said this follows PN’s electoral gains in several Malay majority seats in Selangor in the recent parliamentary elections, including Kapar, Kuala Langat, Hulu Selangor and Tanjong Karang, with the coalition also retaining Sabak Bernam and Sungai Besar.
Noor Nirwandy said PN’s decision to remain in the opposition instead of joining PH and Barisan Nasional in the unity government would likely affect voting trends during the coming Selangor state polls.
“Voters will have to choose between PH or PN, especially in areas where the majority of voters are Muslim Malays, with support for Umno surely to be affected as a result of siding with PH,” he told FMT.
He said the extent of BN and PH supporters’ acceptance of the federal unity government as well as the Perak and Pahang state governments would be reflected in the results of the Selangor elections.
“As PH and BN are joining forces for the first time, we may see something different in the state election, such as Malay voters continuing to vote for Umno or switching to (PN component) PAS,” he said.
Noor Nirwandy said the Selangor state elections would also show if PH supporters had accepted the coalition’s cooperation with BN or if they abstain from voting as a form of retaliation.
Azmi said the cooperation between BN and PH would not continue during the state election as it would demonstrate that BN had grown weak while PH was fishing for votes.
However, he said BN still had the chance to redeem itself among Malay voters given that PN had failed to form the federal government despite garnering strong support from the Malay electorate.
“BN still has time to convince 20% to 30% of PAS voters to vote for BN instead since PN won’t be able to protect the interest of Muslim Malays as it is not part of the federal government,” he said.
He also said there was unlikely to be an outright rejection of PH or BN in the state election. As PH is the dominant coalition in the unity government, he said, its strength would be emboldened in the states it currently leads – Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Penang.
The Selangor, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan state governments opted against holding state elections concurrently with GE15 on Nov 19. The five-year term for all six state assemblies will end in May.