KUALA LUMPUR – Analysts have poured cold water on PAS’ targets for the 14th general elections, among others to win at least 40 Parliamentary seats and a bid to become the leading party to form the Selangor state government.
Those polled by Malay Mail Online said that the Islamist party’s ambitions in order to “keep the rule of Islam” are unrealistic and hard to achieve, especially if it decides to go it alone.
“I don’t see how it is mathematically feasible,” Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia political analyst Dr Faisal Hazis told Malay Mail Online.
“How are they going to lead Selangor when DAP has similar amount of seats and also a significant non-Muslim population?” he asked, referring to the 14 seats currently held by DAP compared to PAS’ 13.
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang recently set his sights on PAS reclaiming Terengganu and Kedah states from Barisan Nasional (BN), while becoming the leading party in Selangor.
In a party event in Kedah, he also targeted 40 Parliamentary seats to be won by PAS, even though the party is yet to form an alliance with the bigger opposition bloc or any formal alliance with the ruling BN.
Faisal said that before a bid is launched to take back Kedah, PAS must first solve a leadership problem that is plaguing the party in the northern state.
“They won and lost Kedah because of leadership problems. Have they filled in the leadership vacuum there?” he asked, referring to the factional split of Kedah PAS during the late Tan Sri Azizan Abdul Razak’s stewardship as mentri besar.
Faisal said that winning back Terengganu, where Umno only holds a slender advantage, is “not far-fetched” but said that PAS might end up losing the existing votes it has if it contest alone and not with Pakatan Harapan parties.
“I think what Hadi has said is just putting more wedge between PAS and the opposition. They need to be clear about where they stand,” he said.
Meanwhile, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) political analyst Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani said Hadi’s projections were “almost impossible” to achieve, in addition to being “unrealistic.”
“It is only possible if they do cooperate with the other parties,” he said.
Azizuddin also claimed that Hadi’s remarks were just an attempt to appease PAS supporters as the party leadership had come under internal criticism over its direction.
“Every party can claim they will form the next government and what not, but the question is how realistic are those targets?” he said.
“There is no way PAS is going to win Selangor without non-Malay support. Even in the Malay heartland areas, people would rather vote for other parties than PAS,” said Datuk Wira Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak, a professor in UUM.
He said that if PAS were to go alone in predominantly Malay states such as Terengganu, Kedah, Perlis and Kelantan, three corner fights also involving Pakatan Harapan and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) would only end up handing over victory to BN.
Merdeka Center director Ibrahim Suffian said that PAS can make significant inroads if they cooperate with other opposition parties and also avoid hostilities with DAP.
He also said that the targets are a way to shore up support from the party grassroots as PAS has a looming party election.
“Naturally leaders in that party don’t want to be seen as weak and too amenable to pressure from other outside parties,” he said.
PAS left federal pact Pakatan Rakyat in 2015 and is yet to commit to electoral pacts with other major opposition parties. It has already ruled out cooperation with neither opposition DAP and splinter Parti Amanah Negara, nor ruling party Umno.
– Malay Mail