S’gor still safe for Pakatan, say analysts

They see the spat over Azmin as being irrelevant to voter sentiment.

Anisah Shukry, FMT

The current infighting among PKR leaders over Selangor is unlikely to erode Pakatan Rakyat’s chances of holding on to the country’s richest state, according to political analysts.

“Selangor voters are quite firm in their support for Pakatan and the pattern is not expected to change,” Dr Jayum A Jawan of UKM told FMT.

“While the infighting could affect its performance in Selangor in the next general election, I do not expect Pakatan Rakyat to do badly.”

He said voters were likely to view the infighting as a “family squabble” that could easily be resolved rather than a serious sign of things gone awry in the opposition pact.

Centre for Policy Initiatives director Lim Teck Ghee agreed with Jayum.

“What we can see is of course the mainstream media playing it up for all it is worth,” he said. “Unfortunately, some in the Internet media are also making a mountain out of a molehill.”

The media frenzy over the infighting started after Sinar Harian quoted PKR Deputy President Azmin Ali as saying that Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim would become federal minister should Pakatan win the next general election.

Khalid and PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar have dismissed the statement as Azmin’s personal opinion, but his remarks have triggered speculation that he is eyeing Khalid’s job.

Khalid’s personal assistant, Faekah Husin, has criticised Azmin more directly, questioning his right to make an announcement on a matter that only Pakatan’s top tier could decide. This provoked PKR’s election director for Selangor, Borhan Aman Shah, to call for her sacking.

But both Jayum and Lim said the feud could easily be resolved in a matter of days.

“In Selangor, the key issues are not of leaders’ fighting, but of the previous mismanagement of the state, the water issue, corruption, and a better quality of life,” said Lim.

No better alternative

As such, according to both Lim and Jawan, Pakatan would be denied another term only if Selangor voters had a better alternative to turn to.

They said Barisan Nasional had yet to prove that it could be that alternative.

“If BN wins Selangor again, it will go back to the old system of cronyism, close tenders, select partners and the like,” said Lim.

“Unless BN can put down in writing the basic changes it is going to make, I am not in support of it and I believe that Selangor voters share my sentiment.”

Lim said that BN must own up to the wrongs it had done during its days of power in Selangor and then tell the people what it would do to correct itself.

“For example, the water issue was totally mismanaged by the previous Selangor government,” he said.

“It was better handled in Penang, where they allowed for the model of privatisation which served the interests of the state and the consumers rather than the company.”

Jayum described Selangor BN as “loud” without having any “concrete plan”.

“BN does not need to attack the opposition; it just has to tell the voters what it wants to do, and how it will do better if it were to win Selangor,” he said.

“Based on the information I’ve gathered from the ground, BN is doing badly.”

Jayum said BN had neglected “practical politics” in favour of attacking personalities in Pakatan and trying to discredit the current administration’s water management.

“BN thinks it is making things difficult for PR with regard to the water issue, but actually it is just making things difficult for the end users, which are the people of Selangor.

“It wants to discredit PR, but this will backfire. People will say BN leaders have a small heart.”

Lim said Pakatan had done enough to keep the people of Selangor happy and the votes coming in.

“Pakatan has cut down on corruption, increased efficiency of services in the state, been able to balance the budget of the state, and tackle major problems in the state such as the water issue.”

He noted that Pakatan faced some difficulty in resolving certain issues, but said this was because of lack of cooperation from the federal government.

“Of course it is difficult for them to get such cooperation as they are the opposition.”