PN the ‘wildcard’ in GE15, says research centre

(FMT) – Perikatan Nasional (PN) is the “wildcard” in the general election (GE15) as the coalition is projected to gain swing votes from the Malay electorate, according to a public opinion research centre.

Merdeka Center programmes director Ibrahim Suffian said if Malay support for PN continued to grow, it could eclipse Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) in overall shares of parliamentary seats.

“The real winner of the increasing support for PN would be PAS. PAS is likely to sweep all the seats that are made up of at least 70% to 80% Malay voters,” he said during a webinar titled “Malaysia’s Upcoming General Election: Players, Issues and Possible Outcomes”.

Ibrahim said a survey conducted by Merdeka Center, which will be released soon, indicated social media sentiment showing a growing preference by Malay voters towards PN.

“If PN is able to gain more than 50% of the Malay vote in the general election, the outcome will be fatal to BN,” he said, adding that this would see PAS replacing Umno as the party with the strongest support in Malay heartlands.

He said voter sentiment reflected the perception that PN was a much “cleaner and uncorrupted” alternative to BN which championed the rights and interests of Malays.

“The predominant view among Malays is that (PN chairman) Muhyiddin Yassin paid the price for speaking out against Najib Razak on 1MDB,” he said. “He (Muhyiddin) is seen as an untainted leader.”

Ibrahim added that there was even tacit approval of Muhyiddin’s actions in February 2020, which led to the fall of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government after 22 months in power and the rise of the PN administration led by Muhyiddin himself.

PN is contesting 169 parliamentary seats and 116 state seats in Perak, Perlis and Pahang. The coalition consists of Bersatu, PAS and Gerakan in the peninsula.

Three possible scenarios post-GE15

Ibrahim said there were three possible scenarios after polling day on Nov 19.

In the first, he said, PN would likely attempt to form a government with BN, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), and other parties in Sabah.

In the second scenario, Ibrahim said PH could attempt to strike up a post-election coalition with parties in Sabah or even with BN and GPS to obtain a simple majority to form a government.

In the final scenario, BN could win convincingly and team up with GPS and PAS to form a government. However, Ibrahim said this was the unlikeliest of the three scenarios to occur.