Senior PAS leader Datuk Mahfuz Omar admitted the odds were stacked against his party
PAS’s chances in Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-election are bleak if the Islamist party can't had the support from former ally DAP and the Chinese community which are very alligned to.
With DAP stating it will only campaign for candidates from Pakatan Harapan, the best case scenario for PAS is for the former ally not to undermine the Islamist party’s standing with the Chinese community that is already unlikely to back it..
Dr Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said with the Malay vote likely to be split between PAS and Umno, failing to secure the sizeable Chinese community’s support in both seats would be a crucial barrier.
"I think their chances have not been optimistic in the first place, as even with overwhelming Chinese support in GE13, they still lost, albeit somewhat narrowly, to Umno

"So with DAP pulling out support, their chances would be even slimmer," he told Malay Mail Online.

The Sungai Besar parliamentary constituency has 42,837 registered voters, while the Kuala Kangsar seat has 33,540 voters as of 2013. Up to a third of the registered voters in these two seats are Chinese.

Senior PAS leader Datuk Mahfuz Omar admitted the odds were stacked against his party in the two by-elections, noting they previously relied on former allies DAP and PKR to help garner non-Malay voters.
PAS last week appealed to the Pakatan Harapan parties to back its candidates in the two polls, but the plea also came after its president, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, reportedly likened DAP to “pigs”.
"I am not sure whether we can win or not. Although it is undeniable that PAS has grassroots support, but we cannot depend solely on this factor for the by-elections,” Mahfuz told Malay Mail Online.

"Now that PAS is no longer with DAP and Pakatan, I do not know what formula we can use to get support from the non-Malays.”

Mahfuz also said the political landscape has changed since Election 2013, when voters supported PAS because they represented a multi-racial coalition together with other opposition parties.
Since then, the Islamist party has retreated into religious conservatism and pressed on with its ambitions to enforce the Islamic penal code, which triggered the breakdown of relations with DAP.

"If DAP does not help I don't know how the Chinese are going to support PAS," the Pokok Sena MP added.

Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub concurred, saying Election 2013 was proof that opposition parties needed non-Malay votes to win, as Umno traditionally still commanded majority support from the Malay community.
The former PAS vice president, who left with the so-called progressive faction of the party to form Amanah, said PAS was unlikely to win if it banked solely on Malay votes.
According to DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua, only parties from Pakatan Harapan have any hope of besting Umno in the two by-elections set for June 18.
Amanah, the natural replacement for PAS in the pact, is said to be considering fielding candidates in at least one of the two polls. PKR is also rumoured to be weighing its own contestant.

"Without multi-racial support, which PAS is unable to secure, there is zero chance for them to win against BN. Hence the best chance to win for these two seats will come from a party from Pakatan Harapan," Pua said.

But PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang cautioned opposition parties against assuming that Chinese voters in these two seats would back Pakatan Harapan and not PAS or BN.
The Sarawak state election earlier this month demonstrated an unexpected swing in Chinese votes towards BN, costing DAP five of the 12 seats it won in 2011. Chua said it remained to be seen if Chinese voters were still firmly in the opposition camp.
Aside from DAP’s avowed enmity, PAS must also contend with the consequences of its renewed embrace of religious conservatism that previously alienated non-Muslims.
While the formula is successful in the east coast states of the peninsula that is the backbone of PAS’s support, it limits the party’s appeal outside of rural areas.

"The hard reality for the opposition (and this includes PAS) is that they have to swim or sink together to win seats in multi-racial constituencies in the peninsula,” Centre for Policy Initiatives director Dr Lim Teck Ghee said.

“And this requires more than a just for the election understanding. Urban and semi-urban voters generally can distinguish between opportunistic and principled action," he said.

PAS president Abdul Hadi said they will contest on their own in the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections as any cooperation with Pakatan Harapan will fail.

The by-elections were triggered by the deaths of Sungai Besar MP Datuk Noriah Kasnon and Kuala Kangsar MP Datuk Wan Muhammad Khairil Anuar Wan Muhammad in a helicopter crash ahead of the Sarawak poll.

Both were from Umno, and had won their seats by slim margins over PAS candidates in 2013.
Sources from Malay Mail Online

Post a Comment