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Why Anwar should worry about Selangor

Analysts expect a stiff fight in PH's long-time stronghold, with any defeat for the ruling coalition to spell bad news for Anwar Ibrahim's future at the top.

Azzman Abdul Jamal
2 minute read
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Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim at the Unity Government National Convention 2023 at the World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, May 14. Photo: Bernama
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim at the Unity Government National Convention 2023 at the World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, May 14. Photo: Bernama

A political analyst says Anwar Ibrahim's position as prime minister may be jeopardised if Selangor, long a stronghold of his coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH), falls to Perikatan Nasional (PN) at the state election to come. 

Ahmad Atory Hussain said any failure by PH to defend its hold on Selangor could tarnish Anwar's image as prime minister and affect his influence at the national level. 

"If Selangor falls, Anwar's position as prime minister will come under threat," he added. 

"He will remain in power, but his influence will not be as strong as it was, and eventually he will lose it." 

Selangor, which contributes the most to Malaysia's GDP, is considered the richest state in the country. 

It came under PH rule in 2008, when the coalition was known as Pakatan Rakyat. 

Atory, of Universiti Sains Malaysia, also said that the cooperation between PH and Barisan Nasional (BN) appeared to be in dire straits amid calls by party leaders for mutual support at the polls to be held in six states this year. 

He predicted strong opposition to such calls at the grassroots level which he said would bring about more division and give PN the edge. 

"Umno members might vote for PN instead out of disappointment with their party leaders," he said. 

"Umno leaders in Selangor like Noh Omar have been booted out. Where is Umno's strength in Selangor now?" 

Atory also cited the huge turnout at PN's recent Aidilfitri open house in Shah Alam as proof of support for the opposition coalition in the state. 

He said the numbers showed that PN could be a viable alternative to PH. 

Academic Rabi'ah Aminudin of the International Islamic University Malaysia meanwhile said that PN would face an uphill task in capturing Selangor as a whole. 

However, she said it would likely add to its seats on the west coast of the state. 

Given Selangor's economic position, she said, an all-out fight could be expected to take place. 

"PH and BN will likely take a more aggressive stance in their campaign to strengthen their position in the state government," she said. 

"If they keep their hold on Selangor, the big question is: will the menteri besar be chosen from PH or Umno? That is the more interesting issue." 

Analyst Azmil Mohd Tayeb said PN could be expected to take the Malay-majority seats currently held by Umno and Amanah. 

However, he said this might not be enough to hand it a majority in the state legislative assembly. 

Azmil, also of Universiti Sains Malaysia, said Anwar or PKR might have to sacrifice some seats for the sake of government stability, to ensure that Umno is not completely crushed. 

"Otherwise, a big dispute might take place in Umno, in the face of such absolute defeat," he added.

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