GUNS trained on Pakatan Harapan chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad are a sign that Barisan Nasional is panicking, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said.

He said PH posed “a real threat” to BN in the 14th general election, judging from the attacks on Dr Mahathir, who was Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister.

“There is a strong chance PH can beat BN. That is why we see the ferocious attacks against Dr Mahathir,” said the Penang chief minister.

He cited the removal of the former prime minister’s posters during the Merdeka celebrations and the personal attacks on his heritage and lineage.

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told Umno members in late July that Dr Mahathir’s father was an Indian named Iskandar Kutty. It was then clarified that Iskandar was his grandfather.

Lim said without Dr Mahathir in Umno, the BN lynchpin party would potentially lose Malay votes in the next polls.

“BN will be losing votes. It got 58% or 59% of the Malay votes in the last general election, but it won’t get the same number in the next round, not when Dr Mahathir has left Umno.  

“Umno and BN can’t increase their votes. Their numbers will only reduce. The question is how much,” he said in a press conference today.

Dr Mahathir was prime minister for 22 years and also BN chairman. He left Umno in 2016 in protest against Prime Minister Najib Razak over alleged corruption in state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Dr Mahathir, 92, is now chairman of opposition party Bersatu, which has joined forces with PKR, DAP and Amanah to form PH.

Lim also predicted that Islamist opposition party PAS would have trouble getting support, even in its stronghold of Kelantan.

“PAS’ support also comes from people who want a new government. When PAS cannot form a new government, their support will only depend on their hardcore supporters.

“PAS will face the loss of votes everywhere. The likelihood of PAS losing Kelantan is very real.”  

Lim said PAS might gain some Umno votes, but not non-Malay votes that were inclined to PH.

PAS, which used to be part of the old Pakatan Rakyat opposition pact, is not a part of PH, having fallen out with DAP in 2015, and then with PKR earlier this year.

Recently, the PH presidential council decided to reject any electoral collaboration with PAS and to prepare for three-cornered fights against BN and the Islamist party in GE14.

Of late, PAS is also seen to be forging closer ties with Umno, sparking speculation that it would end up cooperating with their old political enemy.