Monday, May 16, 2022

Analysts question DAP’s formula for victory after door slammed on PN

Strategically, they say this will not benefit DAP or Pakatan Harapan in their struggle against Barisan Nasional.

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Analysts have questioned the move by Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) strongest party to close the door to cooperation with Perikatan Nasional (PN) in facing Barisan Nasional (BN) at the general election to come.

Speaking at DAP’s national congress in Shah Alam, chairman Lim Guan Eng had told members that they could not work with those who had betrayed the party and its struggle.

“If we are stabbed in the back once, shame on them. If we allow them to stab us in the back a second time, shame on us,” he said.

Although he mentioned no names, Lim is believed to have been referring to Bersatu, the PN component party which had worked with DAP in PH to topple BN at the 2018 general election.

Kamarul Zaman Yusoff of Universiti Utara Malaysia said Lim’s comments would make it difficult for PH to block a BN victory as the opposition coalition did not possess enough support from the Malays to form the government.

“It’s not logical,” he told MalaysiaNow. “He should have understood this from PH’s failure to draw the Malay vote at the state elections in Melaka and Johor.”

Kamarul’s remarks reflect the reality of politics in Malaysia where coalitions must attract the Malay vote in order to survive.

He said PH parties had struggled to win the trust of the Malays at the recent elections in Melaka and Johor.

“Even in Johor, PKR and Amanah lost their deposits in many Malay-majority seats,” he added.

The March 12 election in Johor saw BN winning 40 of the 56 seats in the state legislative assembly. PH meanwhile won 11 and PN three. Muda and PKR, which contested using its own logo, won one seat each.

Kamarul said the Johor polls had shown that Bersatu could win more votes in Malay-majority seats.

If DAP stuck to its guns about refusing to work with Bersatu, he said, it would be like throwing in the towel in the opening round.

“They need to face this general election armed with data, not sentiments and emotions,” he added.

Kamarul also said that DAP’s shake-up in leadership meant that Lim no longer called the shots.

“It’s Anthony Loke who will determine the party’s policies now.”

Loke, the Seremban MP, was appointed as DAP’s secretary-general on Sunday while Lim who had held the post for the maximum number of terms was named as party chairman.

Mazlan Ali of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia said Lim’s remarks had appeared personal in nature, noting that he had been part of the PH Cabinet and had lost his position as finance minister after the coalition’s collapse.

“Perhaps he felt affected by Bersatu, which pulled its support and formed the next government with Umno and PAS,” he said.

He agreed that Lim’s statement should not affect that party’s strategy heading into the 15th general election.

He said data showed that PH had lost the Malay vote, with support from the community only at about 7%.

In Johor, for example, the majority of the Malay vote went to BN and PN.

Mazlan also cautioned that BN components MCA and MIC appeared to be attracting more support while DAP could not depend on strong support from its traditional Chinese vote bank.

While DAP still had its hardcore supporters, he said, this would not be enough to ensure victory for it and PH at the state and federal levels.

“From a strategic point of view, it is not a good move to cut off any space for cooperation with other parties including Bersatu,” he said.

“Unless Lim has a strategy to catapult PH to victory at GE15.”

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