Warisan, PBM future uncertain but DAP, PKR risk losing non-Malay votes
IT is too early to say whether Parti Warisan or Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) will win over non-Malay voters as both parties have yet to be tested, political observers said.
They, however, told The Malaysian Insight that if Pakatan Harapan is unable to solve its internal disputes, such as over one logo for all, non-Malays could pick the two new parties in the next elections.
Observers said DAP and PKR were the parties that stood to lose if they allowed voters to turn their backs on them.
In December last year, Warisan launched its peninsula division as party president Mohd Shafie Apdal said the party was setting out to build a nation and not a particular race or religion.
Although a relative newcomer, Warisan has eight members of parliament and 19 assemblymen in its stronghold Sabah.
PBM, which was launched earlier this month, has elected former PKR lawmaker Larry Sng as its first president.
The party is a rebrand of Sarawak Workers Party with the aim of going national. It is multiracial in scope and friendly to the federal and Sarawak governments.
Ilham Centre executive director Hisommudin Bakar told The Malaysian Insight that PH no longer has a monopoly over the non-Malay votes like it did in previous elections.
He cited PH’s losses in the Malacca and Sarawak state elections as example of the lost of support for the opposition coalition.
“Warisan and PBM have not been tested so we cannot say that they will or will not have the support of non-Malays.”
“That (they can win voters’ favour) is not impossible. If PH cannot fix its internal problems, the open bickering, for example, non-Malays could vote for Warisan or PBM.
“The Malacca and Sarawak elections say it all. There has been a swing of votes. The non-Malays who used to vote for PH are now voting against them,” said Hisomuddin.
In the November Malacca polls, BN swept up 21 of the state’s 28 seats and 38% of the popular vote.
PH only won five seats, with PKR losing all the 11 seats it contested while DAP bagged four and Amanah, one.
In Sarawak, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) secured a super majority, winning 75 of the 82 seats in the state assembly.
Chinese community fed up with PH
Tasmania University academician James Chin said the vote swing is not surprising as the Chinese community is fed up with DAP, citing the party’s short-lived stint in Putrajaya and the Lims’ strangelhold on the party as the reasons for the backlash.
The Lims referred to Kit Siang and Guan Eng, the father and son who have led the party in succession.
“The biggest loser is DAP. The Chinese are not happy with DAP’s performance for 22 months and are also not happy with the Lims’ hold on the party”
Chin agreed i is too early to predict Warisan and PBM’s future.
“When they are tested then we can make comments on it. However, it will be hard for ex-DAP members in either Warisan or PBM to make a comeback as they will be seen as political frogs,” said Chin.
Several DAP leaders have joined either Warisan or PBM in recent months.
Former Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi and ex-Batu Lanchang assemblyman Danny Law Heng Kiang are among two ex-DAP members who joined Warisan.
Paul Yong and A. Sivasubramaniam, meanwhile, joined PBM after leaving DAP.
PBM will not last
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s Dr Mazlan Ali, however, predicted that PBM would not last.
He also said Warisan will not have much impact on the peninsula.
“It is a bit too late for Warisan as it is recognised as a Sabah-based party and if voters want a multiracial party, they have Barisan Nasional or Perikatan Nasional.
“As for PBM, it will only last for a while; this is because like parties such as Parti Cinta Malaysia or Parti Kita, PBM does not have a clear objective.”
“It will exist today but will slowly fade away,” he added.
Dr Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs said Warisan will stay but not PBM.
He added that DAP and PKR risk losing a number of seats by signing a confidence and supply deal with the government.
“Their hardcore supporters may see that as a sellout. Warisan, with Shafie’s surprisingly charismatic appeal, stands to pick up some of these seats as PH supporters cannot not bring themselves to support BN or PN.”
“PBM will find it hard to survive as it is seen as a party of defectors who will eventually support PN/BN,” he said.
Watch us grow
Despite the cynicism, PBM information chief Zakaria Abdul Hamid said his party will grow.
The ex-PKR man said the party is not looking at GE15 alone but beyond 2030.
“I am unperturbed by the doubt. As new party of course people will say that about us. However, we have our strategy and we have planned things out.
“People may think that we are here only for GE15 but in reality we are looking for a great reset. We are creating young leaders to lead the party beyond GE15,” he said.
Zakaria said his party is getting to know the non-Malay voters in the urban and semi-urban areas.
“With easy access to the internet, it is easier for us to reach out to voters, let them know who we are and what we do. We are not targeting a specific race but all Malaysians.”
“Slowly we will go into the rural areas. That is a challenge but we can overcome it,” he said.
Zakaria said PBM is considering joining the Johor election as the party has good grassroots in the state.
“Let’s see how things go. We will have a meeting this week to discuss the state elections. We have good support there,” he said, referring to Steven Choong, who is the Tebrau MP.
Choong left PKR last year. It was said that he had joined Bersatu after meeting party president Muhyiddin Yassin but is now in PBM. TMI
Johor polls: The more the merrier, says BN over parties fielding candidates
JOHOR BARU: Barisan Nasional welcomes the participation of many political parties taking part in the coming Johor state election.
Barisan deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said the more political parties joining the fray, the merrier the Johor state election would be.
“The more the merrier,” he said when asked if having a high number of political parties taking part in the snap polls would be an advantage or disadvantage to Barisan.
Mohamad, who is also Umno deputy president, said this after attending the soft launch of the Barisan machinery as part of the coalition’s preparation for the state election.
Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi officiated at the soft launch, which was held behind closed doors at the Johor Umno headquarters here on Wednesday (Jan 26).
Also present at the event were caretaker Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad, MCA secretary-general Datuk Chong Sin Woon and other state Barisan leaders. ANN
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT / ANN