Is PAS the ‘big brother’ of Perikatan? Analysts say Bersatu still needed to convince non-Malay voters

Despite seeming like the strongest party in Perikatan Nasional (PN), several political analysts have dismissed that the Islamist party is undisputedly in the driver’s seat of the coalition.

(MMO) – The observers told Malay Mail that PAS still needs the support of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia if it wishes to form the federal and state governments, explaining that it only has the support of Malay voters and does not appeal much among non-Muslims.

“Just a simple observation [why PAS is contesting more seats than Bersatu], it is because most of the seats they will contest are in Terengganu, Kelantan and Kedah.

“There are about 85 to 86 seats that they will contest and most seats are incumbent seats. So for that reason, they have more seats than Bersatu,” Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research senior fellow Azmi Hassan told Malay Mail when contacted.

He said that is the reason why PAS has more seats than Bersatu after the 15th general election.

However, Azmi said PAS’ problem is that its support is mostly coming from Malay voters, and therefore cannot survive or form a government just based on this support.

On the contrary, he said Bersatu has more support from non-Muslims, and to gain this support PAS is more than willing to play second fiddle to Bersatu.

“That’s what’s happening in Selangor and Negeri Sembilan when Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that the menteri besar must come from Bersatu, not from PAS,” he said.

“This in itself makes PAS really look like a second fiddle because if you look theoretically at PAS, they have more influence than Bersatu in these two particular states (Negeri Sembilan and Selangor) … So yes PAS is playing second fiddle not by choice but because they understand that their support only comes from a particular group which is very difficult to expand especially on the west coasts states.”

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