PETALING JAYA: A Perikatan Nasional target of winning 80% of the votes in the coming state elections may be realistic, because Pakatan Harapan chairman Anwar Ibrahim’s image is being sullied by Umno, according to a political analyst.
Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid of Universiti Sains Malaysia said although Anwar’s personal reputation was improving among Malay voters, his image was still being dragged down by his coalition colleagues.
Umno is a partner in Anwar’s unity government through Barisan Nasional.
“Anwar has charisma and a track record of integrity, but the same can’t be said of his colleagues in the unity government, especially those from Umno,” Fauzi told FMT.
Therefore, he said, the claim by PN chairman Muhyiddin Yassin that the coalition could win up to 80% of the state votes, especially from Malays, was realistic.
“It’s not unreasonable, but PN has to be wary of the government improving its standing, albeit very slowly. It is not quick enough to make an impact on the state elections, but the real battle is the next general election,” Fauzi said.
Muhyiddin had cited a PN study as showing that the coalition’s partners – Bersatu, PAS and Gerakan – are ahead of their political rivals in terms of popularity and leadership.
Political scientist James Chin of the University of Tasmania said Muhyiddin’s confidence was well-placed, given PN’s past performance in Kelantan and Terengganu.
“In the 15th general election (in November 2022), they swept through Kelantan and Terengganu, basically the whole state, at the parliamentary level.
“So, if the coalition can maintain that target or maintain the vote, it shouldn’t have any problems. (There is going to be a) landslide victory in Kelantan and Terengganu,” Chin told FMT.
However, he said, PN’s chances in Kedah and Negri Sembilan were 50-50, adding that it was too early to tell, as both sides were still campaigning.
“In Penang and Selangor, PN has a lot of catching up to do, due to (PH’s) large majorities, I doubt very much PN can capture these states unless something happens during the campaign,” he said.
‘Allah’, Coldplay, and the Malay Proclamation
Chin said the opposition would play up two big issues in the election campaign – the controversy over non-Muslims using the word “Allah”, and approval for staging the concert by British pop group Coldplay.
“These two issues are easily manipulated because all you have to do is to say that Islam is marginalised. You don’t have to give any reasons, you just blame it on the government, and, of course, the government is PH and Umno, so it’s something that is easily done,” he said.
Fauzi also said that Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Malay Proclamation would not have much of an impact on Anwar because the former prime minister’s legitimacy among Malays has been dented.