PN likely to be out of Johor govt after polls, say analysts

A crowded field in the Johor state elections, especially with the entry of smaller parties for the first time, will benefit Barisan Nasional (BN), with Perikatan Nasional (PN) likely to lose its place in the state government after March 12, according to analysts.

(FMT) – They say while this assessment is based on current political developments and how Malaysians tend to vote, any difference would come from younger voters, if at all they come out to cast their ballot.

The trend towards BN is inevitable, says Akademi Nusantara senior fellow Azmi Hassan, as most of the new entrants are positioning themselves as the opposition without attempting to join forces and strategise on how to fight BN.

“With even PN behaving like an opposition coalition, although it is part of the ruling coalition at the federal level and many states, BN is entering the field with a huge advantage,” he said.

Two new parties – Muda and Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) – together with Sabah’s Warisan are contesting against each other and also fighting Pakatan Harapan in some seats.

Azmi expects PN to be the biggest losers, as happened in the Melaka elections in November.

“There is a possibility Bersatu could be wiped out in Johor, or it may win only one or two seats at the most. Most likely, PN will not be part of the next Johor government,” he said. The party had 12 members in the previous state assembly, while PAS had a single seat.

“PAS is likely to lose in Bukit Pasir as it won’t get the support it expects from Bersatu, when compared to Umno, which has a much better election machinery,” he said, adding that Najib Lep, who was the previous assemblyman, is standing as an independent against a PAS candidate and four others this time.

The party has also declared that it will go with PN in Johor, which he said was going to make it harder to have any impact.

Under the circumstances, Azmi wondered how some Bersatu leaders could actually predict that PN would form the next Johor government. “It is just wishful thinking.”

As for the Undi18 voters who make up more than 750,000 people, Azmi said he would expect those coming out to vote to go for the opposition as they tend to have the anti-establishment sentiment at this age. “But the question is whether they will come out to vote.”

Sivamurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia agreed that BN will benefit the most if it manages to keep its loyal voters and those who cast their ballots against the coalition in GE14 return to the fold.

“As for PN, it is really in a difficult position with the crowded field expected in the polls. The pressure is also on Bersatu as its president is from Johor and also a former prime minister.

“BN wants to wipe out PN in Johor, and unless the voting pattern changes from the past, it may succeed. For Bersatu, being in PH in the 2018 general election is totally different from the party in PN now. It’s going to be an acid test for Muhyiddin and his party,” he said.

As for the Undi18 voters, Sivamurugan said their parents were likely to influence them if they went out to vote as a family. “But with the low turnout expected, it will be hard to predict to what extent Undi18 will impact the elections,” he added.