Survey: Sarawak poll shows PAS can hurt Pakatan Harapan


(MMO) – The Sarawak election demonstrated PAS’s ability to leech support from Pakatan Harapan and cost it crucial seats in the next general election, according to a Politweet study.

Although the Islamist party again failed to capture any constituencies in the Sarawak poll, the social media researcher found PAS to be making sufficient inroads into the state to be of note.

“It is unlikely for PAS or PAN (Amanah) to win more than one seat in the next Sarawak state election; however, this election did show that PAS was effective at drawing votes away from BN, PKR, DAP and PAN,” it said in its analysis.

“In the next general election, if there are similar multi-corner fights in Peninsular Malaysia (where PAS is more popular) this can lead to Pakatan Harapan (PKR, DAP and PAN) losing seats.”

In its study of results from the May 7 poll, Politweet found that PAS enjoyed a 15 per cent positive swing in Beting Maro, a Malay-Melanau area, with its vote shares hitting 38.56 per cent.

The party was also able to gain between 3 and 8 per cent of votes in seats where it clashed with former allies DAP and PKR, indicating it could do enough spoil the two’s contest against Barisan Nasional.

Worryingly for Amanah is that the older Islamist party consistently beat the offshoot party in seats where the two overlapped.

The research will be of concern to Pakatan Harapan, particularly DAP and Amanah that are hostile towards the Islamist party.

DAP and PAS fell out over hudud while both were still in Pakatan Rakyat with PKR, but the continued animosity now threatens to infect the new Pakatan Harapan pact.

The pact is divided over how to treat PAS, with some eager to bring it back into the fold while others are adamant the Islamist party is an enemy in the same vein as BN.

The willingness of the former allies not to damage each other will be tested on June 18 when two by-elections will be held concurrently in Kuala Kangsar, Perak and Sungai Besar in Selangor.

PAS has laid claim to both seats it lost narrowly in Election 2013, but might face three-way fights as Amanah and PKR have indicated interest in contesting, which could provide observers a glimpse of how the next general election may unfold.

BN won the Sarawak poll by a landslide, taking 72 of the 82 seats available.

The opposition suffered a crushing defeat, with DAP losing five of the 12 seats it won in 2011, PKR only retaining its three seats despite running in 40 and Amanah leaving empty handed. PAS contested 11 unsuccessfully.

PKR and DAP also locked horns with each other in six seats during the Sarawak polls, after a breakdown in seat negotiation led to clashes between the two Pakatan Harapan comrades.