Squabbling for the sake of squabbling
Are the opposition voters loyal PAS followers or are they Pakatan supporters?
Scott Ng, Free Malaysia Today
As PKR, PAS, and Amanah try to outbid each other to be the opposition party challenging Barisan Nasional in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar, it appears that more thought is given to posturing than to the question of winning. The essentials of the contest will always boil down to whether or not any opposition candidate can actually win in these constituencies.
The Sungai Besar seat was created in 2003 and has never been held by anyone but the late Norian Kasnon of BN. However, PAS has done significant groundwork there, as evidenced by Noriah’s thin majority in the 13th general election. She beat the Islamist party’s candidate, Salleh Husin, by only 399 votes.
Given PAS’ near success in 2013, it is understandable that it would insist on contesting in the by-election there. One can’t fault it for wanting to test whether voter support for it has improved since then. However, the changes to the status quo of the opposition itself will be a factor. A three-way contest will cause a split in the opposition votes. The question to ask is this: are the opposition voters loyal PAS followers or are they Pakatan supporters?
BN’s hold on Kuala Kangsar is a lot stronger. The seat was first won by Abdullah Abdul Rauf of the Alliance in 1959, and it has never fallen to the opposition. Still, GE13 saw PAS winning 47% of the votes to BN’s 51%. That was certainly a much smaller margin than when the seat was held by Rafidah Aziz, but still well beyond any margin of error that would require a recount.