What by-elections show: Amanah no replacement for PAS, and PAS can’t continue on its own
(MMO) – The Opposition’s crushing defeat in the twin by-elections proves that PAS cannot hold its own with just Malay support while Amanah cannot only rely on non-Malay votes, said observers.
Political analysts noted that if the Opposition continues to move forward in its fragmented state, only bad news awaits them in the 14th general election (GE14).
“Nobody cares about who comes in second or third place. It just means that all the resources spent amounted to nothing for either parties on election day,” Ibrahim Suffian of independent pollster Merdeka Center told Malay Mail Online.
PAS had come in second, ahead of Amanah in Kuala Kangsar by 801 votes, while in Sungai Besar, it was Amanah ahead of PAS by 707 votes.
BN won both seats with a 6,969 and 9,191 majority respectively.
“PAS cannot move forward on its on. What the results show is that without working together, the Opposition have no way to go against BN.
“If they are serious about politics, they must figure out how to sit down together,” Ibrahim added.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Associate Professor Dr Mohd Faisal Hazis concurred, adding that PAS lost its non-Malay support when it left the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, which Amanah currently depends on for its own survival.
“I don’t think Amanah managed to secure as many Malay votes as PAS. The real battle is whether Amanah can replace PAS in the Opposition pact, and right now, I don’t think that it is viable,” he told Malay Mail Online.
Both analysts attributed DAP’s aggressive campaigning in Sungai Besar and a pseudo “incumbency advantage” for Amanah in Selangor by being part of the Pakatan Harapan coalition as advantages that helped it narrowly beat PAS for second place as opposed to the scenario in Kuala Kangsar.
However, they noted that BN had increased their popular vote share in both seats.
“Even though Amanah showed it could overtake PAS under certain circumstances, it is not even a significant challenge to BN,” Ibrahim said.
Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan noted that should PAS continue on its own, it would only create a hard time for the rest of the Opposition parties.
“If PAS continues as a spoiler, then it means the Opposition will have a most hard time. PAS’ presence is a boon to Umno and bad news for Pakatan,” he told Malay Mail Online.
“This is why I believe Datuk Seri Azmin Ali’s earlier effort to mediate between PAS and Amanah was crucial. Pakatan needs more people who share Azmin’s aspiration to mediate and negotiate between differing parties in the Opposition bloc. Otherwise they will have a very difficult time.”
He added that moving forward, if Pakatan Harapan and PAS remained at odds, he expects PAS to aim its attacks at Amanah as they know they cannot challenge Umno.