Monday, January 18, 2021

DAP risks losing vote bank by supporting Anwar, analysts say

Analysts say all scenarios point to Anwar not becoming the prime minister.

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DAP risks losing its traditional support base of non-Malay voters if it backs the “Malay-Muslim” government that Anwar Ibrahim claims he will be forming, analysts say.

They also said DAP would not take the risk with Anwar and lose the support of non-Malay voters in the 15th general election by joining hands with Umno leaders facing corruption charges in court.

Shamsul Amri Baharuddin said DAP could expect a “negative impact” if it backed Anwar’s plan, as the PKR leader’s supporters are said to include Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and several Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs facing graft charges in court.

“DAP is strong because of the Chinese vote. They will not join Anwar, and will not want to risk losing the support of the Chinese,” the political analyst from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia told MalaysiaNow.

He said DAP’s Chinese base would also help the party retain its grip on state assemblies such as Penang, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Johor.

Yesterday, MalaysiaNow reported that DAP leaders had made it clear that they would shun any coalition with Umno MPs, “especially those involved in corruption cases”.

Zahid, who said he would not stop Umno MPs from crossing over to Anwar’s bloc, is currently facing 47 charges of corruption, criminal breach of trust and money laundering.

Shamsul said if Anwar enlisted Umno leaders involved in corruption in his “formidable and convincing” majority, there would be a split in Pakatan Harapan (PH).

He added that all scenarios point to Anwar not becoming the prime minister.

“If PH splits before Anwar’s royal audience with the Agong, or if Anwar loses a vote of no confidence in Parliament after the audience, or if Parliament is dissolved to give way for GE15, I still don’t see him becoming the ninth prime minister,” he said.

When asked about Amanah, the smallest PH component, Shamsul said the party would follow anyone who uses the power of “money”.

“DAP has the money to ensure Amanah continues supporting them.”

“All scenarios point to Anwar not becoming the prime minister.”

Another analyst, Hisommudin Bakar, said DAP had always maintained the principle of no cooperation with leaders tainted with corruption and kleptocracy.

Hisommuddin, who heads pollster Ilham Center, said DAP and Amanah were now in a dilemma.

“Under such a principle, DAP cannot accept individuals such as Najib Razak, Zahid Hamidi, Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and others whose cases are still being heard in court.

“How would DAP explain to voters their political stance in order to support Anwar’s move?

“For me, DAP is in a dilemma over whether it wants to support, remain neutral or leave the PH political coalition. All these have different scenarios and will affect Anwar’s chances of forming a government,” he told MalaysiaNow.

But Hisommudin did not rule out DAP still being willing to work with Anwar because it could not stand the harassment of its leadership.

This includes the “political harassment” by the Perikatan Nasional government against Lim Guan Eng, who has been slapped with corruption charges.

Hisommudin also said DAP might prefer to be in the government together with “tainted” Umno leaders instead of being in the opposition.

“All this will put DAP in a difficult position. Whatever it does will have different implications on its supporters, especially the Chinese voters.”

He said yet another option was DAP being friendly to the government without holding any Cabinet positions.

“But it would still be difficult to explain to their voters.”

Sivamurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia agreed, saying DAP and Umno cannot work together.

He said each party would have to answer to their supporters who have been trained to consider the other as the enemy.

“The level of hatred grew during GE14 and has not decreased.

“DAP will lose the backing of its own supporters, who will probably cast protest votes even though for Anwar, it is important to form a government.”

On Thursday, Anwar said Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah had agreed to meet him on Tuesday, Oct 13, at which time he would present the details of his claim to having a “formidable” majority from MPs to form the government.

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