In Perak, Selangor polls, analysts see true test for Pakatan Harapan


(MMO) – The litmus test of  Pakatan Harapan’s resolve going forward as a pact for the 14th general elections will be in the coming twin by-elections in Perak and Selangor, political pundits said.

They added that Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections will better show if the federal opposition parties can unite as a viable pact or will continue to squabble over seat allocations that cost them precious votes in the May 7 Sarawak election.

“This is an important test for Pakatan, whether it can stay together or not.

“Either contest as a bloc or concede to PAS as a bloc and then campaign for PAS. This is where they have to show they have a big heart,” Wan Saiful Wan Jan of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs told The Straits Times in a report published today.

Pakatan Harapan’s senior parties DAP and PKR had been at loggerheads with each other right up to polling day in Sarawak, with seat overlaps in six state seats.

The pact’s youngest member, Amanah ― a PAS splinter ― had failed to win a single seat contested. Some of its candidates even lost their deposits, a dire indication of its electoral future, the Singapore daily noted.

“The way PH is organised right now is more of a public relations exercise. The idea of Pakatan Harapan was basically meaningless in Sarawak,” S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies senior fellow Oh Ei Sun was quoted as saying.

“If they don’t coordinate properly for these coming by-elections, then it may be meaningless in the peninsula as well.” he added.

The Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar parliamentary seats fell vacant when the MPs, Datuk Noriah Kasnon and Datuk Wan Mohammad Khairil Anuar Wan Ahmad, respectively, were among those killed in a helicopter crash in Sarawak last Thursday.

The two constituencies have been PAS traditional seats, and polling there has always seen a straight fight between PAS and Barisan Nasional (BN).

Amanah has also announced its interest in contesting for the seats, spelling a possible three-way fight in both seats.

By-elections are expected after Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia gave official notice of the two vacancies to the Election Commission (EC) on Monday.

The EC will reportedly meet on Friday to decide on by-elections for the parliamentary seats.