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Pakatan Harapan Weak In Sarawak – Analysts

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By Anas Abu Hasan and Mohd Faizal Hassan

KUCHING (Bernama) — The Pakatan Harapan opposition pact which comprises DAP, PKR and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) is seen as weak and does not possess a strong cohesion which can affect the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the upcoming 11th Sarawak State Election, say political analysts.

Senior Fellow of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s (UKM) Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS) Assoc Prof Dr Faisal S. Hazis said this was because until now, there had been no official consensus reached by the three parties ahead of the election.

“Even during the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) era, the three parties (including PAS) found it difficult to capture Sarawak state assembly seats, but if there is no understanding, and now with the new coalition, it will be increasingly difficult for them to win,” he told Bernama when contacted.

He said Pakatan Harapan’s situation was compounded by the fact that PAS was no longer part of the opposition bloc, and was also expected to contest several seats, which could ultimately lead to three-cornered fights, or maybe more.

Thus, Faisal said BN need not worry, as, if the situation continued, it would be very difficult for Pakatan Harapan, as well as PAS, to capture the seats that have been occupied by BN for many years.

Meanwhile, UKM’s Modern Chinese History and History of Malaysia (Sarawak) senior lecturer Dr Suffian Mansor had a similar take on the matter, saying it was impossible for the opposition bloc to capture the hearts of voters in Sarawak using issues from the peninsula, nor local issues.

“They do not understand the situation and politics here. So it is quite difficult and impossible for PKR and PAS to win seats this time. There is no hope.

“Except for DAP. This is also if there are no territorial disputes with PKR,” he said.

He said, however, other factors that could provide some opportunities and space for the opposition candidates was because of unhappiness over candidates or seats among BN component parties, which often occurred in any election.

According to him, if the issue was not handled well and quickly, BN’s strong position could be affected, denying them a clean sweep.

Earlier, Pakatan Harapan Sarawak had announced that DAP will contest 30 seats, Amanah (13), and PKR (40) but no official announcement has yet to be made.

PAS, which is not included in Pakatan Harapan, has also announced it will contest 11 seats in the election, with 11 new seats introduced by the Election Commission (EC) last year, making it a total of 82 seats.

In the 2011 state election, BN won 55 of the 71 seats in the state assembly while the DAP won 12 seats (Padungan, Pending, Kota Sentosa, Batu Kawa, Jepok, Meradong, Bukit Assek, Dudong, Pelawan, Kidurong, Piasau and Pujut – whose elected representative was expelled from the party in 2013); PKR got three seats (Batu Lintang, Krian and Ba’Kelalan) and one seat went to an independent representative (Pelagus).

Meanwhile, Santubong MP Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar when met by Bernama advised outsiders who were foreign to the Sarawak culture, not to be too confident to compete in the state election this time.

Wan Junaidi, who is also the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said the people in Sarawak did not need outsiders to try and play up sentiments of hate and division among the people in the state just to win the state election.

“Their struggle is not like helping Bumiputeras or democracy. The politics they have brought has tended to become more aggressive, more towards hurling insults, and character assasination,” he said.

— BERNAMA

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