PN’s stunning rise puts PH’s Malay seats in Penang at risk, say analysts

Perikatan Nasional’s performance in the general election places the coalition in a strong position to wrest Pakatan Harapan’s Malay-majority seats in Penang in the state polls, according to two analysts.

(FMT) – Azmil Tayeb and Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk, both of Universiti Sains Malaysia, said Pinang Tunggal, Penanti, Sungai Bakap, Pulau Betong, Telok Ayer Tawar, Bayan Lepas and Permatang Pasir were particularly at risk.

The state elections will be held next year.

PN sprang a surprise in GE15 when it seized the Barisan Nasional stronghold of Kepala Batas and defeated PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar in her family bastion of Permatang Pauh.

Azmil said PH must counter the discourse on social media, particularly TikTok, as it was the platform of choice for young Malays.

“Malay votes have swung heavily in favour of PN, especially in semi-rural and rural areas,” he told FMT.

He said PN’s victories in mixed seats such as Kulim-Bandar Baharu and Alor Setar also meant it could be difficult for PH to wrest mixed seats in Penang, including Seberang Jaya and Sungai Acheh, from PN component Bersatu.

PH won the Seberang Jaya and Sungai Acheh seats in GE14 but lost them through defections. PH now holds 33 seats in the 40-seat state assembly. PN holds five and Barisan Nasional two.

Azeem Fazwan said PN’s gains in GE15 were likely to be reflected at the state level.

“Malay voters have voted overwhelmingly in favour of PN,” he said.