Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Umno will lose Melaka polls without PAS, analysts say

They say three-cornered fights will benefit Pakatan Harapan although nothing is set in stone.

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Analysts believe it will be difficult for Umno to win the upcoming state election in Melaka without PAS, following the Islamist party’s decision to contest the polls using the logo of Perikatan Nasional (PN).

Martadha Mohamed of Universiti Utara Malaysia said three-way fights in Malay-majority areas would cause a split in votes, affecting both Umno and PN.

“This is clear because it already happened before during the 14th general election in 2018,” he told MalaysiaNow.

“Fights among PAS, Umno and Pakatan Harapan (PH) will benefit PH as the Malay vote will be split but the non-Malay support will go to PH.”

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang had said on Monday that his party would contest the Melaka polls using PN’s logo, dealing a blow to Umno which had hoped to avoid clashes with the Islamist party come Nov 20.

Analyst James Chin of the University of Tasmania in Australia agreed that the current situation points to three-cornered fights at the state election but said this did not mean an easy win for PH.

“To an extent, PH is also divided as DAP is unhappy with Amanah,” he said, citing as well dissatisfaction with Anwar Ibrahim’s efforts to accept the four state assemblymen whose withdrawal of support had triggered the Melaka polls.

“If it can solve this problem, PH will be at an advantage.”

Oh Ei Sun from think tank Singapore Institute of International Affairs said it was still to early to draw a conclusion about cooperation among Umno, PAS and Bersatu.

“They still have six days before nomination day to discuss and decide whether they will be friends or foes,” he told MalaysiaNow.

“PAS has only decided to use PN’s logo. This does not mean that they will reject Umno. Maybe they will cooperate with Umno through PN.”

But Chin said the situation had affected ties between Umno and PAS.

“PAS is benefiting from its relationship with PN and Umno. Now it is stuck and needs to choose between the two.”

He said while it appeared as though PAS would choose PN, he said this was no guarantee as there were several PAS leaders who wished to use the party’s own logo.

Ultimately, Chin said, a final decision will only be known on nomination day.

He added however that this came as no surprise to Umno which had previously brought up the possibility of going solo in the Melaka polls.

The Melaka election was triggered following the dissolution of the state assembly on Oct 4, after four state assemblymen withdrew their support for the chief minister.

Nomination will be held on Nov 8 while voting will take place on Nov 20.

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