December 8, 2022
KUALA LUMPUR – Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional are likely to maintain their pact and not contest against each other in the six state elections scheduled for next year, say political analysts.
This is regardless of the results of yesterday’s Padang Serai and Tioman elections, they said.
Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research senior fellow Azmi Hassan said Barisan was likely to give way to Pakatan in Penang, Selangor and Negri Sembilan in the state polls next year.
“But, for Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu, it is more appropriate if Barisan is given a chance by Pakatan in this case,” he added.
He, however, said both Barisan and Pakatan leaders have to work together, otherwise the Opposition front, Perikatan Nasional, would be the victor.
“So, I presume the cooperation will continue regardless of the Tioman and Padang Serai outcome,” he added.
Azmi also said that both the Padang Serai and Tioman constituencies were too small to reflect the people’s acceptance of the Pakatan-Barisan pact.
Even the demography of both areas, he said, were not large enough to gauge the public reception on the cooperation between the two coalitions.
Arau MP Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim recently suggested that Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu should hold state elections just after the Padang Serai and Tioman elections.
The six states did not dissolve their state assemblies simultaneously with Parliament prior to the 15th General Election (GE15).
Prof Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmod of International Islamic University Malaysia said the outcome of the Padang Serai parliamentary election was likely to determine whether the Pakatan-Barisan pact was accepted by semi-urban and rural voters.
“But I doubt the same applies to the Tioman state seat,” he said, adding that it was unfair to draw a conclusion based on the two elections.
“To conclude the pact is working at all levels (of society) is a bit premature,” he said.
Prof Nik Ahmad Kamal is also expecting a possible swing of votes towards Perikatan, judging by the outcome of GE15, which saw the coalition led by Bersatu winning 73 parliamentary seats.
“Perikatan’s defeat in GE15 exacerbated the possibility of that vote swing to show disappointment and electoral support. It is a kind of revenge in Perikatan’s favour. The wave of Malay votes for Perikatan could continue,” he added.
Universiti Teknologi Mara Administrative Science and Policy Studies lecturer Mujibu Abd Muis said there was no official announcement on the Pakatan-Barisan pact and their current cooperation in the Padang Serai and Tioman elections was based on a “gentleman’s agreement”.
He said the cooperation was aimed at showing goodwill between them as the results of both elections would not change the current political status.
However, he said their relations could develop, subject to the Umno general assembly scheduled for January next year and the party polls to take place after that.
The Umno elections, said Mujibu, would see whether or not party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s camp could withstand challenges from the opposing camp and retain their position.
Another factor is whether or not the unity government would be able to deliver and receive positive public feedback, he added.
Mujibu also said the Pakatan-Barisan cooperation was easier compared with any cooperation between Barisan and Perikatan, as both were going after the same vote bank.
“But still, they will be judged by voters as an individual (party), not as a coalition (government).
“Malay-Islam, anti-corruption, good governance will be vital issues that need to be justified by both parties,” he added.
This is because the Opposition will definitely use those issues to discredit the Pakatan-Barisan cooperation, which may potentially hurt them along the way and may be difficult to explain to their grassroots for now, said Mujibu.