PETALING JAYA – PAS’ refusal to work with Pakatan Harapan (PH) will not significantly affect the opposition coalition’s chances at the polls, said a political analyst.
The analyst, Ahmad Atory Hussain, said while pundits’ attention had been fixed on what three-cornered battles would do to PH, they had forgotten to look at the obvious.
He said while the opposition’s votes would be split in a three-cornered election battle, this upcoming general election would also see a split in the support for Umno and PAS.
“The support base of PAS and Umno is already split with the formation of their respective splinter parties, Amanah and PPBM,” he told FMT.
Simply put, come voting day, either this year or the next, the core supporters whom PAS and Umno had relied on in the 2013 general election would be significantly smaller.
Some would have left along with the leaders they voted for in Amanah and PPBM, explained Atory.
“On paper, yes. It seems that anything other than a straight fight against BN would make it difficult for PH to win.
“But it’s not impossible. Because PAS’ core voters would be split into two, one to the Islamic group and the other to Amanah. The same goes for Umno and PPBM.
“If it was like the last general election, where PPBM and Amanah were not yet formed, the three-cornered battles would see DAP and PKR going against PAS and Umno.”
However, Atory admitted that PH has a lot to do to ensure victory in the upcoming nationwide polls because PAS certainly has complicated matters for them.
Asked what the coalition led by former Umno leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad can do to increase chances at the polls, Atory said one of the ways is to reveal their menteri besar candidates for each and every state.
“Give the voters an inkling of who they will have as their state leaders — that they will have someone pleasant and can be accepted.
“PH must also make sure its election manifesto reaches the voters and is easy to be understood,” he said.
The PH presidential council last night made a firm decision not to cooperate with PAS in the next general election.
In a statement issued after the three-hour meeting, PH leaders said the coalition will instead be preparing a strategy to manage the expected three-cornered contests.
The meeting followed reports that some PKR leaders were involved in negotiations with PAS on the allocation of seats in Selangor for GE14.
On Saturday, PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali said his talks with PAS leaders were not done in his personal capacity but based on a party decision.
However, PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution later denied there was such a decision made at the party level.
Azmin had also said the negotiations were “solely to prevent three-cornered contests” in Selangor and to “increase the chances of winnability for PKR and opposition parties”.
The move did not sit well with some party leaders, including Selayang MP William Leong, who recently announced his resignation from the political bureau, the highest decision-making body in PKR.