Thursday, June 23, 2016
By elections spell doom for opposition's hope
Due to the failure of Pakatan Harapan (Amanah) to strike an accord with PAS prior to the by-elections to fight BN one-on-one, the ruling coalition has been able to enjoy the windfall from their disagreement.
BN has not only consolidated its grip of the fundamental Malay support base, but has also managed to win back the hearts of some Chinese voters, while the other two opposition parties suffered tremendous losses pitching against each other for the same voter source.
Even though in both by-elections the number of voters for Amanah and PAS put together still pales when compared to BN's, at least the gap could be narrowed if the opposition forces were to come together unified.
Take Kuala Kangsar for instance, BN garnered 12,653 votes with a majority of 6,969. If the other two parties were to join forces, they could at least shrink the majority to only 2,086 votes.
The by-elections have delivered a very clear message: with the opposition camp now in disarray, its prospects in the coming general elections are anything but good.
Without the endorsement of DAP and PKR, there is no way for PAS to win the support of non-Muslim voters. And without a helping hand from PAS, it is equally hard for Amanah to make significant inroads into the Malay rural communities.
The opposition leaders have come to the realization of this problem. PKR deputy president Azmin Ali has actively played the coordinating role to urge its allies, including PAS, to come back to the negotiating table in order to pool their resources together to fight BN in the coming general elections.
Amanah's spokesperson Hatta Ramli, meanwhile, has said his party is adopting an open attitude and is willing to sit down and talk with PAS.
As a matter of fact, PKR has earlier attempted to integrate the various opposition forces and has come up with the "PH+1" concept in a bid to bring PAS under the same roof. Unfortunately this proposal has been vetoed by both DAP and PAS.
Even if the opposition parties are willing to return to the negotiation table, to reach an agreement on seat allocation remains a very challenging task. Given the fact that Amanah is a splinter unit from PAS itself, the two parties are largely identical in their political philosophies and nature, and are fighting to win over the same group of voters. Simply put, the rivalry between the two parties make it all the more difficult for them to strike an agreement.
If PH and PAS are unable to find an appropriate solution before the next general elections, it is inevitable that 3- or more cornered fights will ensue, and the erstwhile one-on-one battles against BN will become a thing of the past.
Translated by Dominic Loh (Sin Chew)
Posted by wikisabah at 5:29:00 PM