PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Harapan supporters will back candidates from Barisan Nasional – its partner in the unity government – in the coming state elections, but the reverse appears to be unlikely, said an analyst.
Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara said PH supporters would have no issue backing BN, despite the two coalitions’ intense rivalry before the 15th general election (GE15) last year.
“This is because the alternative is Perikatan Nasional, which PAS is a part of, and it is not rosy.
“Even if PH supporters are uneasy about working with Umno, they will definitely vote for an Umno candidate,” he told FMT.
However, Azmi feels that Umno supporters would be hesitant to return the favour as DAP – once their traditional enemy – is a component of PH.
Many may opt to back PN as they feel more assured that the coalition would champion Malay rights, he said.
He said this may be a critical factor in Malay-majority constituencies.
“These areas will pose problems for PH and BN candidates,” he said.
Meanwhile, a source from DAP conceded that the unity coalition’s candidates expect to lose several seats.
Even if PH manages to retain Selangor, it is unlikely to be by a landslide win, the source said.
“PAS has been doing its groundwork since the last state election in 2018 and it has gained the trust and support of voters,” said the DAP veteran.
On the other hand, the source said, PH and BN candidates tend to go to the ground at the “very last minute”.
A PN Selangor source said the predominantly Malay coalition is confident of wresting the state from PH, but the victory will likely be by a slim margin.
“We know we will not win with a huge majority in Selangor as a majority of the seats are mixed seats, but we are confident of winning as we don’t expect the voter turnout to be high,” the source said.
He said the unity government is relying on a high voter turnout to win.
“This is because statistics have proved that a high turnout will favour PH, and we are confident of winning over BN supporters,” the source said.
Sanusi’s arrest: boon or bane?
Azmi said the recent arrest of caretaker Kedah menteri besar Sanusi Nor and the subsequent sedition charges preferred against him have only served to boost the PN election director’s popularity.
“He is making use of his arrest as ammunition, but he and PAS have to be careful.
“This is because those rooting for him are PAS supporters who will support him no matter what, but his antics may turn off fence sitters,” he said, adding the undecided voters presently leaning towards PN are more rational in their thinking.
“So, Sanusi must be careful as he has already gone overboard. He should not do it again in his campaign speeches.”
On Sunday, a DAP man told FMT that PH and BN must not treat the threat posed by Sanusi lightly as he is capable of drawing votes away from the unity government in the elections.
Voters in Selangor and five other states will go to the polls on Aug 12.