PETALING JAYA: Analysts are convinced that the “green wave” of the parliamentary elections in November is real and is likely to make an appearance again in Saturday’s state elections.
Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, Akademi Nusantara’s Azmi Hassan and Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani of the Bower Group Asia all concurred that the “green wave” existed, despite some skeptics saying otherwise.
“Well, nobody expected such a wave before the last general election (GE15), and yet it happened, and there is no sign that it is receding,” Oh told FMT.
He attributed the resurgence of the green wave to “the rise in Malay entho-centricity as well as a worldwide revival in political Islam”.
The term “green wave” was coined by politicians to describe the political rise of Perikatan Nasional in GE15, where PAS won 43 seats in the Dewan Rakyat, the highest number by any single party, while its partner Bersatu won 25 seats.
On the government side, DAP won 40, PKR 31, and Umno 26.
However, not everybody is convinced of the existence of such a “green wave”.
Khairy Jamaluddin, for instance, said Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s struggle to gain Malay support stems more from the community’s discontent with his administration’s lack of economic direction than a green wave.
“What is happening in Malaysia today is less the rise of an extremist ‘green wave’ than the expression of genuine discontent in the Malay community that goes beyond the 3R (race, religion and royalty) issues,” Khairy said in an article on Singaporean portal Fulcrum in June.
The former Umno Youth chief later said in a podcast that the term “green wave” was a “dog whistle” being used to instil fear among non-Malays and moderate Malays.
Asrul said what made the green wave a political phenomenon in GE15 was how Umno crumbled in rural Malay seats, its traditional stronghold.
“But the wave did not break beyond Malay-majority seats,” he said, adding that the same would happen this time.
Azmi said the green wave would be limited this time to the three PAS-led states of Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.
“Yes, it will have a big impact in the three PAS states, mostly Kelantan and Terengganu. The probability of them wiping out Barisan Nasional is quite high and maybe in Kedah, too. But not so much for Penang, Negeri Sembilan or Selangor,” he said.
Oh said PN seemed likely to at least break Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional’s two-thirds majority hold in the west coast states of Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.
Asked whether the unity government had done enough to charm the Malay-Muslim voters, he said “certainly not”.
“The unity government has been targeting the socioeconomic concerns of these voters, whereas the real battle is in their religiously awakened minds,” he said.
Azmi said Umno, PKR and Amanah have not done enough to challenge the narrative that “DAP is too dominant”.
Young voters’ role in the green wave
As to whether youths would be the “power brokers” in the state elections, Azmi said GE15 has shown that young voters were more willing to take a chance on PN as they do not hold the same allegiance to parties like Umno, compared to older generations.
“But the question is, will they come out and vote?” he said, citing the age group’s “disappointingly low” turnout for GE15 and the general trend that turnouts for state elections were usually lower.
According to the Election Commission, 661,905 voters aged 18 to 20 are registered to vote in the six state elections. They, however, only make up 6.8% of the total number of eligible voters (9,773,571).