PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Harapan (PH) could face an uphill battle to retain Selangor in the upcoming state elections, especially with Malay voters leaning towards Perikatan Nasional (PN), says a former elected representative.
The PH politician, who declined to be named, said PKR and Amanah in particular will struggle to defend their seats in the 56-seat state assembly.
“The number of Malay votes for PH decreased in the last general election in November. Malay voters seem to be leaning more towards PN now,” the PH leader told FMT.
Then, PN won 74 seats, 72 of them with large Malay electorates. PAS alone won 49 seats.
Complicating matters for PH, the leader said, was the swing in Indian votes towards PN, which he said was evident in the Padang Serai (Kedah) election on Dec 7, 2022.
“If you look at the Padang Serai election, Indian votes swung from PH to PN.
“One of the main factors was that the Indian community was not happy with PH, especially after the Cabinet line-up was announced and there was only one Indian minister.”
In the Padang Serai election, PN’s Azman Nasrudin wrested the seat from PH with a 16,260-vote majority. PH had held the seat, where Indians make up some 20% of the voters, for three terms.
The polls in Padang Serai was delayed after the former MP from PKR, M Karupaiya, who was set to defend his seat in GE15 died on Nov 16, three days before the polling day.
On the state polls in Selangor, the former elected representative said, PH could only consider DAP’s seats, many of which have a majority of Chinese voters, as safe.
“Chinese voters are terrified of PN because of PAS’ influence so they will stick to PH. However it won’t necessarily be the same for the Malay and Indian voters,” the PH leader said, adding this would be to PKR and Amanah’s detriment.
The Azmin Ali factor was another challenge for PH as the former Selangor menteri besar still has a lot of influence in the state.
“Azmin may have lost the Gombak parliamentary seat but a state election is different. In November, people wanted to see Anwar Ibrahim become prime minister.
“Now he is prime minister, so Selangor voters may have different priorities when casting their ballot.”
The PH leader said Azmin will also be banking on his track record in administering Selangor when he was in PH.
However, the PH leader’s views were challenged by Taman Templer assemblyman Sany Hamzan, who said PH could retain Selangor by teaming up with Barisan Nasional.
“Our menteri besar (Amirudin Shari) has done a lot for the people of Selangor, so I’m sure the voters will exercise their wisdom at the ballot box,” the Amanah central leadership committee member told FMT.
“We take note of the ‘green wave’ (increase in support for PAS), but we have also identified our mistakes in GE15, and we’ll address them in the state elections.”
Sany said PH will need to go to the ground and rebut PAS’ allegations that Malays will be sidelined and Islam will take a backseat if Anwar leads.
He said Anwar’s time in office so far has shown the allegations are false and as such, PAS may not be able to make much inroads in the Selangor polls.