A political observer has played down the odds of Barisan Nasional (BN) receiving a bigger share of seats at the state election in Selangor this year, pointing to recent remarks by PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli despite BN's cooperation with Pakatan Harapan (PH) at the federal level.
Rafizi, the economy minister in Anwar Ibrahim's Cabinet, had said that PH was on comfortable footing in 40 of the 56 state seats in Selangor.
Speaking to MalaysiaNow, Azizi Safar said Rafizi's comments were a signal that PH would not give up those seats to BN.
"His message is, PH can remain in power in Selangor even without working with Umno and BN," he said.
Azizi, the former executive secretary for Penang BN, added that neither BN nor Umno had any bargaining chips with which to negotiate a bigger allocation of seats in Selangor, Malaysia's richest state.
"In fact, Umno is in more need of the non-Malay support that usually goes to PH parties after being rejected by the Malays at the recent general election," he said.
Led by its lynchpin party Umno, BN dominated the political scene from the country's independence until the coalition's historic loss at the 2018 general election.
Its worst election performance yet came at the Nov 19 polls last year, where it won just 30 parliamentary seats against PH's 81 and Perikatan Nasional's (PN) 74.
It nevertheless became part of the federal government by joining hands with its long-time foe PH, along with several other coalitions and parties.
With six state-level elections looming this year, in Penang, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan, it is widely expected to work towards a similar understanding in order to weather the polls.
In Selangor, PH has formed the state government for three terms since wresting it for the first time in 2008, under the then Pakatan Rakyat pact.
PH and BN joined hands for the first time in Pahang and Perak, as well as at the federal level, in the aftermath of the 15th general election (GE15).
Analyst Kartini Aboo Talib of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia said Rafizi was known for his political predictions.
"Sometimes they're on the dot, but quite often they aren't," she said.
"He didn't expect PN to win so many seats at GE15, or the Malays' rejection of BN and PH."
Kartini said Rafizi's latest views appeared to be a tactic to encourage voters ahead of the state election.
She nevertheless recalled the political system in Anwar's coalition government, where all parties are expected to work together.
"Otherwise, they risk Umno and BN pulling their support for PH at the federal level," she said.
Azizi however said the likelihood of this happening was small as Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would not want to lose his position of deputy prime minister.