BN-PH partnership no match for PAS in Kelantan, says analyst

(FMT) – Cooperation between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan will not be strong enough to wrest the Kelantan state government from PAS, says an analyst.

Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid said the coalitions should count themselves lucky to even win a few seats if they were to partner in the east coast state.

“PH doesn’t have enough clout at the grassroots level in Kelantan. It remains a PAS versus Umno battlefield.

“Amanah – PH’s hope in Kelantan – has been a failure when it comes to penetrating the rural Malay heartland,” Fauzi told FMT, adding that BN will have to take the lead in the campaign against PAS.

Akademi Nusantara’s Azmi Hassan agreed, saying the BN-PH focus in Kelantan should be on gaining some seats rather than wresting the state from PAS.

He said the two coalitions will face a similar situation in Terengganu.

Kelantan Umno Youth chief Noor Hariri Mohd Noor had said BN and PH needed to work together if they wanted to topple PAS and Perikatan Nasional in Kelantan in the upcoming state election.

PH and BN had performed poorly in Kelantan in the 15th general election, with PN sweeping all 14 parliamentary seats up for grabs there.

In the 14th general election, BN only managed to win eight of the 45 state seats in Kelantan as PAS took the rest. PH failed to win a single seat.

Fauzi said there were no shortcuts to gaining ground in Kelantan, and that PH and BN must show they are capable and efficient in handling economic matters, especially in times like this.

He said the two government parties should seek to alleviate poverty among the people in the rural areas, describing this as a long-term step to wooing support.

“Success stories in states run by PH and BN, like Perak and Pahang, must be highlighted to prove they can actually work for the betterment of the people’s living conditions, not simply for political expediency,” he said.

However, Azmi said PH and BN could gain significant ground in Kelantan by using Bersatu’s frozen accounts as campaign material.

While the action taken by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was only on Bersatu’s accounts, he said it would affect PAS’ campaign in the state.