KUALA LUMPUR – Opposition parties PAS and PKR stand to be the biggest losers in the next general election if there are multi-cornered fights, political experts said today.

If three-cornered fights are to take place, Merdeka Centre’s Ibrahim Suffian said the most affected would be the two Opposition parties who stand to lose out in marginal seats versus Barisan Nasional.

“The upcoming election is going to be very complex. Two corner fights brings disadvantage to BN but three corner fights means the death of the Opposition, especially PKR and PAS,” he said during the the “Multi-Cornered contests: Bane or Boon?” Forum today.

While this factor would also influence votes going to parties like Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Parti Amanah Negara, the only party that would remain unaffected would be the DAP.

“The only party that would emerge out of this election relatively unscathed is DAP. They will be able to maintain their seats,” Ibrahim added.

Dr Johan Saravanamuttu from Singapore’s Rajaratnam school of international studies at Nanyang Technological University stressed that PAS would play a key role in multi-cornered seat fights.

He reasoned that after PAS exited the Opposition bloc, the chances of the party winning nationally was slim but also would affect other Opposition parties by contesting against them and BN.

“In every election which PAS has not been a coalition with other parties, they have performed poorly. PAS is a regional party, in order to win on a national level they need to have coalition partners,” Johan said.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Head of Asian Studies Centre Faizal S. Hazis added that PAS will also stand to lose the majority of non-Malay support it received in the previous election by not aligning itself with other Opposition parties.

“PAS will lose the non-Malay votes particularly the Chinese votes,” he said.

Faisal also pointed out that the recent cooperation between PAS and Umno would backfire for the Islamist party as voters would view the party to be similar to Umno.

“PAS is increasing the alliance with Umno, it is being similar to Umno. The way this projects to voters is fighting for the same thing, which is Islam.

“Once you lose the distinctiveness, people might tend to vote for incumbent over you. It is a further fragmentation of Malay votes,” he explained.

– Malay Mail