Analyst warns of potential spillover after MCA, Amanah clash over Kota Lama

UiTM’s Ariff Aizuddin Azlan says seat negotiations are critical if BN and PH intend to cooperate in the next general election.

(FMT) – A political analyst foresees that the clash between unity government allies, MCA and Amanah, over the Kota Lama state constituency in Kelantan could eventually spill over to other seats, especially those held by DAP in other states.

Ariff Aizuddin Azlan of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) said seat negotiation policies are important if Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Harapan (PH) want to cooperate in the next general election (GE16).

He added that despite being a national party, MCA is considered a “minor” party compared with DAP in terms of voter support.

“This clash is inevitable. They (MCA) are determined to contest to gauge voter support and prove their relevance,” he told FMT.

In GE15, MCA and DAP contested several parliamentary seats with a mixed voter demographic. Most of them were won by DAP but MCA were victorious in Ayer Hitam in Johor with its president Wee Ka Siong as the candidate and in Tanjung Piai (Johor) through its vice-president Wee Jeck Seng.

Last year, MCA decided to sit out the state polls in six states held in August, thus preventing any conflict in seat negotiations with DAP.

FMT previously reported that Amanah and MCA were fighting over the Kota Lama seat with MCA asserting that it had contested the constituency in past elections under the BN banner.

MCA last won the Kota Lama state seat in the 1995 general election. PAS then held the seat from 1999 before Dr Hafidzah Mustaqim of Amanah helped PH take the seat with a narrow 202-vote majority in the August 2023 state elections.

Amanah were also reported to have said that it has shut the door on making way for other parties, including MCA, to contest the state seat in Kelantan.

Ariff said leaders from both BN and PH need to find solutions that do not disadvantage any party, as they will face challenges in gaining support in a PAS-dominated state.

“Therefore, they need to devise a special formula to win the state instead of fighting each other,” he said.

Meanwhile, Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara also believes there is a misconception regarding MCA’s claim of Kota Lama as a traditional seat.

“They (MCA) were given the chance because it’s the only seat in Kelantan with a 30% Chinese voter base. If Umno were to contest (Kota Lama), they could also win,” he said, noting that Malays make up over 60% of the electorate.

“MCA cannot push for PH to yield to them. This conflict should actually be between Umno and PH.”