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The ABCs of a political break-up, explained

May 13, 2017
The ABCs of a political break-up, explained
PAS’ official break-up with PKR came as no big surprise, but the real test now comes in how the opposition will restrategise for the coming elections if it hopes to defeat BN. – The Malaysian Insight pic, May 12, 2017.
PAS has officially broken up with PKR, and that isn’t really news for anyone who saw it coming a while ago.

The break-up was inevitable after the Islamist party buried Pakatan Rakyat (PR) when it cut ties with ally DAP last July, and then last month when it declared new opposition party Bersatu as “leaderless” at a party assembly,  which also asked to break off with PKR.

So what happens now, as PAS insists that it is still in the Selangor government where its members, some 5,000 of them, still hold various positions in the state administration until the next general elections?

Can the party led by its firebrand president Abdul Hadi Awang still have its cake and eat it, by leaving the opposition pact and being a third force, albeit a growing cooperation with Umno?

Analysts polled by The Malaysian Insight explain the ABCs of the break-up and what will happen as Malaysia gets into gear for general elections which must be held by August 2018.

Three-cornered fights in the next polls can no longer be avoided

In the last two general elections, PR won more parliament seats, and also states, due to straight fights with Barisan Nasional (BN). That also led to BN losing the popular vote in the 2013 polls.

Not anymore. PAS is expected to defend its seats against former allies and also BN, particularly Umno as these parties eye the Malay vote. The likely outcome would be Umno winning the seat as PAS and other opposition parties battle for votes.

As Amanah strategy director Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad put it succinctly, voters will now have a clearer picture who are the ones rejecting the idea of straight fights in GE14: “that is the reality and the outcome of the Shurah Council’s decision today,” he said.

PAS will insist it remains in the Selangor government as it now controls mosques and suraus

The Islamist party might have “divorced” all its former allies in PR and snubbed Amanah and Bersatu but it knows that it cannot shed power so easily, especially when some 5,000 members are paid political appointees in municipal councils, mosque and surau committees and village security and development committees members.

“Going on principle, there is a clash between power and necessity. PAS will take this into account, so very likely it will stay in the government until Parliament is dissolved.” said pollster Ilham Centre’s executive director Hisomuddin Bakar.

He said the Selangor government could remain as it s as PAS needs the platforms to influence voters in the general election.

Pakatan Harapan (PH) risk bad results in early polls as component parties need time to adjust

The possibility of earlier polls without PAS will have an adverse effect on PH as it now has to re-distribute parliamentary and state seats, and more importantly, get its grassroots election machinery organised.

The fact that Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali, who is PKR deputy president, has long kept PAS in the fold is to ensure full support going into the next polls with PAS members providing the canvassers for votes.

But time is running out to get its own act together for the Malay vote, despite being set up in 1999. It is also not certain if Amanah and Bersatu can get votes if polls are called earlier.

“PH’s winnability in Selangor needs simulation and right strategies. The narrative of success in Selangor under PH has to be presented to the people to keep up the offensive momentum,” said Hisomuddin.

PKR leaders need to find safer seats to replace those won with PAS help

PKR leaders,  such as Nurul Izzah Anwar, who won the Lembah Pantai federal seat in Kuala Lumpur and others who won in Selangor will have to consider safer seats as they won with help from PAS grassroots.

These grassroots are now the enemy in the next polls just as BN remains the rival, said Hisomuddin Bakar.

“If there are still those who doubt this, it will be hard to get the message across to voters in the polls. This dilemma must be sorted out before it is too late,” he told The Malaysian Insight.

PAS could fail at the polls

Despite talking up cooperation between Umno and PAS, the Islamist party will go it alone in GE14, aiming for 45 seats in the 56-seat Selangor assembly. And its chances of winning remain as slim as PH in a three-cornered fight.

That would leave Umno the clear winner in the state, and PAS the loser, leading Merdeka Centre director Ibrahim Suffian to question if PAS would be able to convince its supporters about cutting ties with PKR with GE14 in sight.

“PAS gained advantage in Selangor with the help of PKR,” he said, but the Shura council decision meant PKR would work with PAS splinter party Amanah.

To put it simply, the PAS decision yesterday is a major setback for PH and a great boost for BN to face the electorate after two consecutive major defeats at the ballot box. – May 12, 2017.

Baca versi BM……di sini.

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