A test of PAS-Amanah support at by-election


(Bernama) – The parliamentary by-election here this month will probably be a three cornered fight, at least, after Barisan Nasional, PAS and Parti Amanah Negara all announced their candidates.

Political analysts believe that the contest, traditionally between an Umno candidate (representing BN) and PAS, would certainly be more interesting now that Amanah, a PAS splinter, is getting involved.

The analysts say that the election campaign would also display more mutual respect between Umno and PAS, with more maturity in their campaigns, following changes in the political scene and the good relations between both parties.

“Usually, the PAS bullets are targeted at BN, but this time, it will be more between PAS and Amanah, and this will be more favourable to BN,” said political analyst Jeniri Amir.

The Barisan Nasional candidate will be Mastura Mohd Yazid, widow of the late MP, Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad, who died in a helicopter crash in Sarawak last month.

PAS has named Perak PAS women’s wing leader Dr Najihatussalehah Ahmad, while Amanah has named former Universiti Teknologi Malaysia professor, Dr Ahmad Termizi Ramli.

Umno Youth member Syed Rosli Syed Harman Jamalullail has also announced on social media that he would contest as an independent candidate, and faces the prospect of expulsion from the party should he file his papers on nomination day tomorrow.

Jeniri, a senior lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, said the by-election would be more of a test for PAS and Amanah to gauge their support among voters. “I do not deny that Amanah and PAS have fielded competent candidates, but it’s not a big hurdle to the BN candidate in Kuala Kangsar, based on the good track record of BN in the area,” he said.

Another analyst, Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani of Universiti Utara Malaysia, said the dispute between PAS and Amanah would cause a split in votes among opposition supporters “and of course, this would be favorable to BN,” he said. “The dispute between PAS and Amanah would disappoint many opposition supporters, and it is possible they could also turn towards BN,” he said.

When announcing Amanah’s nominee, party president Mohamad Sabu said the by-election was a defining moment for the party, which would be facing its first electoral contest in the peninsula.

Mohamad Sabu and DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng, who previously attacked and criticised Umno, have switched their attention towards PAS during the announcement of the Amanah candidate.

Polling takes place on June 18. Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar won the seat with a 1,082-vote majority in the 2013 General Election.

A total of 32,949 people are eligible to vote in the by-election according to the electoral roll, as of May 7.