Monday, November 29, 2021

Pakatan’s defeat in Melaka not harbinger of GE15 performance

Pakatan’s defeat in Melaka not harbinger of GE15 performance

Unjust to make Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim ‘sacrificial lamb’ for coalition’s loss in state polls, says analyst

Universiti Utara Malaysia’s Prof Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani believes that Pakatan Harapan needs to do much more to convince balloters, especially young voters, before the upcoming general election. – Social media pic, November 29, 2021

KUALA LUMPUR – Putting the blame solely on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and making the PKR president a “sacrificial lamb” for Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) dismal performance in the recent Melaka polls would be unjust as there were other factors during the campaigning period that came into play, according to analysts.

Despite a total wipeout for PKR which was seen as a severe blow to PH, analysts said it does not indicate that it is the endgame of the opposition coalition – neither is it reflective of what is to come in the 15th general election (GE15).

Universiti Malaya academic Prof Awang Azman Awang Pawi said that while the coalition’s decision to field two “political” frogs for Melaka’s Asahan and Pantai Kundor seats had backfired, it was a collective decision made by three component parties.

Moreover, the four assemblymen who had caused the collapse of the state government by withdrawing support for Chief Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md. Ali were not frogs but were party-less as they were sacked by their respective parties.

It is irresponsible of DAP to insist (for Anwar to step down) when it was a decision made based on the consensus from DAP, Amanah and PKR.

“It needs to present a list of leaders to replace Anwar for the people and supporters to consider, should he step down. Would it be Mat Sabu (Amanah president Mohamad Sabu) or Lim Kit Siang? As of now, I don’t see any suggestions from them.

“If people from DAP are all talk and no action, I think it is imprudent of them,” he told The Vibes.

In the Melaka election on November 20, PH only won five of the 28 seats up for grabs. Four of the seats were won by candidates from DAP while one was secured by an Amanah candidate.

DAP had also lost four seats.

Following PH’s defeat in the state election, DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke, for the first time, openly said that PH must stop insisting that Anwar be its sole candidate for the post of prime minister after the losses suffered in Melaka.

Loke was reported by The Malaysian Insight as saying that the coalition should instead talk more about the reform agenda and not just about Anwar being prime minister.

DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke says Pakatan Harapan must stop insisting that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim be its sole candidate for the post of prime minister after the losses suffered in Melaka. – RoketKini pic, November 29, 2021

Other than stringent campaigning standard operating procedures that hindered candidates from meeting voters on the ground, Awang Azman said the low electorate turnout was another factor that led to PH’s loss.

“The turnout rate was very low. We can see that the number of voters who voted for PH was low because a majority of those residing outside of the state did not return to vote,” he said.

“Those voters may be more inclined to ‘balik kampung’ during Christmas at the end of the year so they can bring their families with them.

We can see that those who have moved to Johor, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore did not return to vote. This has affected the voting pattern tremendously.”

The state election concluded with an overall voter turnout of 65.85%, which was far lower than the target of 70% by the Election Commission.

At the same time, he is of the view that Melakans feel immensely indebted to the Barisan Nasional (BN) government after they have been offered financial aid in the form of various stimulus packages and moratoriums.

“Those who voted for BN do not want a new government. Instead, they chose to remain steadfast under BN’s leadership to ensure that political stability can be maintained.

“They also want to restore BN’s image from the previous general election,” said the socio-political analyst.

However, he said this will not spell trouble for PH in the much talked-about GE15 as BN’s victory in the state election is not an absolute indicator of the coalition’s success at the federal level.

Universiti Malaya academic Prof Awang Azman Awang Pawi says those who voted for Barisan Nasional in the Melaka election chose to remain steadfast under the coalition’s leadership to ensure that political stability can be maintained. – Bernama pic, November 29, 2021

“If BN gets too complacent with its triumph, surely it will not achieve the same result in the next election.

“An election at the federal level is a totally different ball game and different issues will be taken into consideration – issues that were not played at a state election or by-election,” he said.

Universiti Utara Malaysia’s Prof Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani shares the same sentiment, saying PH has a strong election machinery and charismatic leaders the likes of Anwar who can persuade voters to support him.

If the Melaka election took place concurrently as the GE15, you would have seen a different result. This is because the machinery would have been be spread throughout the entire country, not just focused in Melaka.

“We know PH has a strong machinery but maybe not as good as BN, based on my observations. But PH has a good track record and strong leaders like Anwar who can lead and persuade the people to support him,” the political analyst said.

PH running out of time?

Azizuddin also believes that PH needs to do much more to convince balloters, especially young voters, in the upcoming election due September 2023.

“Time is not on its side now. PH’s strategy now is probably to ‘attack’ Malay populated areas and attract them to support the coalition.

“It has to do everything in its power to garner support, possibly the young voters, too.

Based on its track record, PH could attract young voters. It has put forth young leaders and attractive policies. Compared to BN, PH definitely has policies that are more attractive to young voters.”

Having said that, he added that what is important and should be on PH’s main agenda is to bring a different narrative to swing support in the coalition’s favour.

“PH has to make sure the dynamics of politics are on its side. It needs to think about what it did right in GE14.

“When Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was announced as PH’s prime ministerial candidate, it swung votes,” he said referring to the victory in the last general election in May 2018.

Although Anwar is quite the household name, Azizuddin said it is not enough to lead his coalition to glory in GE15.

Although Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's popularity among the people is still high, Universiti Utara Malaysia’s Prof Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani says it is not enough to lead Pakatan Harapan to glory in the 15th general election. – The Vibes file pic, November 29, 2021

“Anwar is definitely a big name compared to others and he is respected by friends and foes. But there are other things PH can do that it is good at – introducing young leaders and candidates for the next election.

“Try to popularise them like what it did with Farzana in the Sg Rambai seat,” he said.

“PH campaigned very well for her and made her known to the voters there very quickly.

“The only thing was that Sg Rambai is an Umno stronghold, so she didn’t stand a chance to win.

“But I think PH needs to come up with more strategies to get support from the voters,” he said.

PKR’s Farzana Hayani Mohd Nasir, also known as Nana, was PH’s youngest candidate in the state election.

She faced a four-cornered fight against Muhammad Jefri Safry (Perikatan Nasional), Siti Faizah Abdul Azis (BN) and Nazatul Ashraf Md Dom (Putra).

BN’s Siti Faizah claimed the seat by winning the majority by 1,137 votes, garnering 3,801 votes in total. – The Vibes, November 29, 2021

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