BN could lose 8 parliament seats in Pahang

The State of Pahang

It would be wrong for Barisan Nasional to assume that the votes garnered by the opposition in Pahang in the 2008 polls were protest votes.

Mohd Ariff Sabri Aziz, FMT

In 2008, the vote swing to the opposition in Pahang was around 9%. Allowing for a generous re-gain of 5% by Barisan Nasional, the opposition Pakatan Rakyat still has a 4% vote swing.

In Raub, Pakatan saw a 45% swing, while in Jerantut (46%), Temerloh(46%), Indera Mahkota (50%), Kuantan (52%) and Bera (43%).

Based on 2008 performance, six seats showed great promise for Pakatan. The opposition won in Kuantan and Indera Mahkota. Both seats were won by PKR.

But this time round, with the racial factoring, and a simple vote swing of 4%, my projections are that Pakatan could well win eight parliamentary seats in Pahang.

The seats are Cameron Highlands, Raub, Kuala Lipis, Jerantut, Temerloh, Indera Mahkota, Kuantan and Paya Besar.

This is because there are a few peculiar features shown by Pahang and which are capable of being generalized.

(1) Areas with a large Malay population do not necessarily lead to easy wins for BN. Jerantut, Temerloh, Indera Mahkota and Kuantan all have majority Malay voting populations. But in each of these areas, Pakatan secured 46-52% of the votes. Pakatan got 40% votes in Kuala Krau and 43% in Bera.

(2) It means Malays are more discerning and are ready to evaluate their voting preference in terms of the costs and benefits.

(3) Jerantut in particular with a population of 81% Malay voters saw Pakatan took home 46% of the votes.

(4) As a rule, if Pakatan puts up a Malay candidate in these areas, the Malay votes are easily split 50:50

How stable was the vote swing to the opposition? Very often, the gains made by Pakatan were dismissed as protest votes.

‘Votes for Pakatan are stable’

They probably were but no one is sure how much of the swing to the opposition in 2008 was done in the name of protest.

And to assume that all were protest votes would be a big mistake.

The swing to the opposition can only be attributed to the people having made a choice based on conviction and belief.

Read more