PETALING JAYA: PKR needs to join forces with Umno if it wants to solidify its presence in Kelantan and Terengganu in the next five years, a political analyst said.
Awang Azman Awang Pawi of Universiti Malaya said Umno enjoys better grassroots support in the Malay heartlands and therefore presents more of a threat to PAS compared to PKR.
“The two parties are always at the forefront at championing the Malay cause. PKR couldn’t do this because they never really had a base in Kelantan,” he told FMT.
Awang Azman stressed that it’s important for PKR and Umno to leverage on their current alliance in the federal government in the state assembly elections due this year and iron out seat allocations.
“Their short-term plan (state polls) will influence the long-term plan.” he said.
While PKR enjoys support in mainly urban areas, political analysts have noted that Umno and Perikatan Nasional dominate rural and semi-rural areas.
Recently, PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli said the party will implement a five-year plan beginning March 1 to strengthen the party and its machinery in Kelantan and Terengganu.
Awang Azman said Pakatan Harapan should work with the ulama council Umno is forming while championing the “Malaysia Madani” concept, announced by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim last week.
“The council should include scholars to rival the PAS ulama council by showing that Islam under Anwar’s leadership is progressive and moderate, not something that is exploited for political advantage,” he said.
Sivamurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia said PKR must identify what makes PAS strong in those states even as he theorised that the Islamic party’s strength came from its machinery.
“Perhaps it has a vast network of preachers supporting them, as well as regular (political) activities at mosques, suraus and pondok schools?
“Its machinery and movement are so efficient that it managed to break the PKR and BN’s strongholds in the November election and won first-time voters and bench sitters.”
PKR should also take into account the demographic to ensure it draws the interest of the voters there.
“There are views that the development in the east coast states is not as rapid as in other states but is this what the majority of the locals there care for?” he said while noting that PAS’ presence on social media is also strong. FMT
BUKIT MERTAJAM: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim says PAS has the right to determine when to hold state assembly elections but separate elections would cost more.
PAS controls Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu and party president Abdul Hadi Awang has said the party would decide on its own when it was best to hold state elections and “it was up to Pakatan Harapan (PH) to follow us”.
Last month, the Election Commission said the six states should consider holding simultaneous state assembly elections, which would cost RM450 million.
Anwar, who is PH chairman, said he had not held any official discussions with Barisan Nasional (BN) on seat allocations. “But I am not stopping the state party leaders from holding talks.”
BN is part of Anwar’s unity government. FMT
FREE MALAYSIA TODAY