State polls will tell, analysts say on support for PH-BN
Perikatan Nasional meanwhile is expected to make short work of the contest in rural areas.
(MalaysiaNow) – Analysts say the six state elections to come this year will be an important indicator of the support for the coalition government helmed by Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN), which joined hands in the wake of the political impasse after the 15th general election last November.
Speaking to MalaysiaNow, they said the spotlight would likely be on Umno, and whether the Malay party will be able to regain the support of its traditional vote bank after its controversial decision to work with its old foe.
James Chin of Australia’s University of Tasmania said a key factor to watch would be the number of Malay votes for Umno, given that the state polls would be the first since the Nov 19, 2022 election.
“Umno has been against PH for so long, it will be interesting to see how the supporters of both camps react,” he said.
“Before this, they were enemies but now, PH supporters might be willing to lend their support to Umno.”
BN and its lynchpin party Umno were trounced at the general election last year, winning just 30 seats overall – a sharp drop from the 74 seats it obtained at GE14 under the administration of Najib Razak.
Of these, 26 were won by Umno in the party’s worst election performance ever.
Ignoring calls for his resignation, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi went on to ensure the support of his coalition for the government led by PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim.
The decision to cooperate with its long-time foe was opposed by some, leading to internal conflict which resulted in a purge of those seen as critical of the top leadership.
Those who were sacked included former youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and ex-Selangor chief Noh Omar, while others such as Sembrong MP Hishammuddin Hussein were suspended.
Chin said that negotiations between PH and BN might end in a deadlock if both sides were asked to give way in their strongholds in order to guarantee victory.
“This would mean a free-for-all which would reflect badly on Anwar’s government,” he added.