PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s plan for his party in the 14th general election will likely lead to the loss of the seats he holds at the parliamentary and state levels in Terengganu, a study revealed.

This latest study comes as Hadi leads PAS to contest against both main opposition pact Pakatan Harapan and the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional.

Hadi’s plan for PAS will likely see three-cornered contests among it, BN and PH in all the 21 parliamentary and 78 state seats the Islamist party won in the 13th general election.

The study by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) policy lecturer Dr Mazlan Ali showed even Hadi would lose the Marang parliamentary seat and the Rhu Redang state constituency in the event of three-cornered fights.

Mazlan said the Islamist party stands to lose another three parliamentary seats in Terengganu in the event that it contests against both BN and PH.

The study estimated that PAS will only win two out of the 14 state seats it won in Terengganu if there are three-cornered fights. These are Sura and Paka under the Dungan parliamentary constituency.

The main reason for the losses was the split among opposition supporters towards PAS after the party’s internal schism in 2015 and its decision to sever ties with PH parties.

“All the PAS state seats in Marang will also fall into the hands of Umno if there are three-cornered fights between BN, Pakatan Harapan and PAS,”  Mazlan told a briefing in Kuala Terengganu organised by Terengganu executive councillor Mohd Jidin Shafie on December 31.

PAS supporters at the Fastaqim 2.0 at Pantai Tok Jembal in Kuala Nerus, Terengganu, on September 30, 2017. The party lost the state in the 2004 elections. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, January 5, 2018.
PAS supporters at the Fastaqim 2.0 at Pantai Tok Jembal in Kuala Nerus, Terengganu, on September 30, 2017. The party lost the state in the 2004 elections. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, January 5, 2018.

First, Mazlan said PAS’ influence declined after some of its most influential leaders and members broke off to form splinter party Amanah.

The second reason is that non-Malays who voted for PAS in GE13 in 2013 have now shifted to PH.

“The third reason is the uncertainty in PAS’ direction. Voters do not see PAS as an alternative to replacing BN. They see PH as the only party that can compete with BN.”

After the party split in 2015, PAS lost many of its supporters, including non-Muslim voters, middle-class Malays and the young, he said.

The perception that PAS wants to cooperate with Umno is another factor creating unease among the party’s grassroots and they may either protest or vote for PH, he said.

Hadi is embroiled in a war of words with former prime minister and PH chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The latter accuses him of siding with Prime Minister Najib Razak.

PAS leaders have said the party plans to contest against BN and PH in at least 40 parliamentary seats.

The study also predicted that PH would only be able to win in three state seats – Wakaf Mempelan, Bandar and Ladang – all in the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary constituency.

Mazlan said although Bersatu is a new threat, Umno is still strong as it still has good support from rural Malays.

In addition to Jidin, present at the briefing were Bandar assemblyman Azan Ismail (PKR), Amanah Terengganu communication director Zubir Mohamad and other leaders.

Mazlan, who has also conducted studies on behalf of the National Professor Council (MPN) for Najib, said the study was done without taking into consideration the factor of candidates, issues and political developments after September 2017.

The study was based on the assumption that there was an extraordinary increase in new voters in Terengganu, a 20% to 35% drop in PAS support and a 3% to 10% drop in support for Umno.

If this prediction comes through, this will be a repeat of the 2004 results when Hadi lost his Marang parliamentary seat and the Terengganu government that it captured in the 1999 general election.

Hadi lost Marang to BN’s Abdul Rahman Bakar in the 2004 general election but won back the seat in 2008 and 2013.

Hadi lost to Rahman after polling 27,913 votes to the latter’s 28,076. The Election Commission re-delineated the Marang seat in 2003.

The PAS president regained the seat in 2008 by beating Ahmad Ramzi Mohamad Zubir by 2,747 votes before defending the seat against Yahya Khatib Mohamad in 2013.

In GE13, PAS won four parliamentary seats in Terengganu – Marang, Dungun, Kuala Nerus and Kuala Terengganu and 14 state seats.

In the Marang constituency, Hadi also won the state assembly seat of Rhu Rendang while other PAS candidates won in Bukit Payong and Alor Limbat but lost to BN in Pengkalan Berangan in GE13.