PAS may lose heavily in three-cornered fights

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Malaysia Chronicle

Malaysia Chronicle

Pakatan Harapan is full of twists and turns particularly PAS has decided to draw a clear line between the party and the coalition, and will appoint candidates to contest all the parliamentary and state constituencies given to PKR, Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM). Hence, in the coming general election, three-corner fights in both parliamentary and state constituencies with Malay majority in all the states will be unavoidable. The question is who will be the final kingmaker?

So far, the four component parties of Pakatan Harapan have completed negotiations on 100 parliamentary seats in principle, but there are still more than 100 parliamentary seats remain unsettled. Deputy President of PKR Azmin hoped to cooperate with PAS to fight against Umno, however PAS which flattered itself in high morale does not care about the aspiration of Pakatan. PAS not only intends to contest in seats originally belonged to it, it will also contest in other seats, depending on the demand of its grass-root members.

This means that PAS not only will contest the 73 parliamentary and 236 state seats which it had contested in the 13th general election, it will also contest some of the seats belong to PKR in last general election in which PKR had contested 99 parliamentary and 172 state seats.

PAS took the lead to make clear its stand to disassociate itself from Pakatan as it knew that Pakatan component parties have different opinions, and the party will only stand to lose at the end. Especially Amanah, a PAS splinter party will concentrate on contesting the 73 parliamentary and 236 state seats which will be contested by PAS.

Although PKR is willing to cooperate with PAS and not to contest on PAS’ seats to avoid three-cornered fights, but PPBM will not do that, it will definitely contest on PAS parliamentary and state seats or else it has no constituencies to contest.

PAS will have to sacrifice many parliamentary and state seats which originally allocated for the party and to give away to Amanah and PPBM if it works with Pakatan. As such, PAS would rather seek strategic cooperation with Umno against Pakatan. If Umno is willing to let PAS contest in certain states with free hand, PAS is confident of gaining power in four or five states and to implement Shariah criminal law in these states.

It is seemingly unavoidable to have three-cornered fights among Pakatan, PAS and Barisan Nasional which is the ruling central government in the next general election. If the opposition votes split, then Barisan particularly Umno will be benefited. Since most of the three-cornered fights will be in Malay constituencies, Umno knows that the chances of its candidates winning in the Malay constituencies will be higher if there are multi-cornered fights.

On the contrary, if Pakatan reaches accord with PAS to contest one-on-one against Umno, in view of Umno’s “mountain stronghold” mentality among the state leaders and the fight for interests among the Umno cronies, as well as the prolonged high-level infighting in the party, Umno is no longer as strong as it used to be and is difficult to face with the strong offence launch by Pakatan together with PAS.

However, if opposition parties split especially when PAS is contesting on its own to fight for the ruling power of central government which will create three-cornered fights in parliamentary and state seats, then chances of winning for Umno candidates in the election will be much higher.

According to political analysts, if there are three-cornered fights in all the Malay constituencies, Umno not only will not be defeated, instead it will capture even more parliamentary and state seats than the 13th general election. While PAS is just the opposite; besides losing the support of Chinese voters, it will also be facing challenges from candidates of Amanah and PKR, resulting in the split in Malay votes and suffers a crushing defeat at the end.

According to sources, in case there are three-cornered fights in the 14th general election, PAS not only will lose heavily in Terengganu, Kedah and Selangor but may also lose its stronghold in Kelantan state which it has controlled for decades. Most of the seats which PAS may have lost will be taken over by Umno, the rest will be shared among Pakatan allies.

In the upcoming general election, if the three-cornered fights are inevitable and Malay votes are split, Umno which is besieged with internal and external problems, will be glad to see this happen. This will also bring vibrancy to the local Umno leaders who have been struggling all this while. The result of the general election will see PAS’ rejoice ends up in smoke while Umno will have the last laugh.