A TWO-THIRDS majority for the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition seems more likely now that Pakatan Harapan has firmly rejected any electoral cooperation with PAS, said political observer Ibrahim Suffian.
The director of polling outfit Merdeka Centre said without a pact between PH and PAS to ensure straight fights, it would be easier for BN to regain the two-thirds hold in Parliament that it first lost in the 2008 general election.
“In view of the fact that BN has a large number of supporters, the opposition will be split into votes for PAS and votes for PH. This will favour BN, even if it wins with a lower percentage of the popular vote.
“If PH and PAS do not have a pact, it’s not impossible for BN to seize a two-thirds majority again, given that it only needs another 15 federal seats from what it has now,” he told The Malaysian Insight.
To regain a two-thirds control, BN needs 148 seats in the Dewan Rakyat. It now has 133 seats, following the 2013 general election, while the opposition has 89.
The opposition, which included PAS at the time under the Pakatan Rakyat banner, had won 52% the popular vote in 2013, with BN winning 47%.
Ibrahim was asked about the PH presidential council’s decision on Monday to reject cooperation with PAS, following a divisive debate within PKR on whether to hold talks with the Islamist party to ensure straight fights, especially in Selangor.
Besides PKR, other parties in the opposition pact are Bersatu, DAP and Amanah.
Ibrahim said the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections last year were indicative of the results of three-cornered fights in the coming polls.
BN candidates had won both federal seats as the votes were split. PAS and Amanah had fielded candidates.
There are different views, however, as to how well PH can survive three-cornered fights.
PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli, who runs survey outfit Invoke, said he believed the party was strong enough to withstand three-cornered fights based on simulations.
A survey by Institut Darul Ehsan, involving 4,486 respondents, did not touch on the number of parliamentary seats that the opposition could gain, but found that if PH and PAS were to join forces, such a pact could control seven states and one federal territory in Peninsular Malaysia.