Creating a Malaysian Tsunami
One of the major obstacles for Pakatan Harapan to defeat the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the 14th general election is the ‘spoiler’ role which PAS will play in creating multi-corner fights. The impact of a multi-corner fight featuring a BN candidate, a Pakatan Harapan candidate and as PAS candidate can be seen in the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-election in June 2016 whereby the majority of the BN increased because of the split in the anti-BN vote even though BN’s vote share did not change significantly from the 2013 general election results.
The Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-election results are the ‘worst-case’ results for Pakatan Harapan where PAS won approximately 30% of the Malay vote (but hardly any non-Malay support) and where the support for Pakatan Harapan, in this case, AMANAH, among the non-Malay voters fell by about 10% because of reduced turnout, especially among the younger voters, and some of the older voters drifting back to the BN. This is Scenario 1.
But a few politically significant events have taken place in the Malaysian political landscape since June 2016. Firstly, BERSATU has now formally joined Pakatan Harapan which would undoubtedly increase the Malay support for PH including among disgruntled UMNO members. Secondly, PH is now in the process of being formally registered, which gives the public a higher sense of confidence that there is a strong and credible alternative coalition to the BN. Thirdly, PAS has shown its ‘true colours’ when it announced that it was no longer cooperating with PKR thereby further isolating itself politically. Of late, PAS under Hadi’s leadership has become the greatest champion and apologist for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
With these developments in mind, it is possible to envision another scenario, Scenario 2, where PAS only manages to win 20% of Malay support (down from 30% in Scenario 1) with little non-Malay support. At the same time, BN faces a Malay backlash because of the cost of living issues and the FELDA and 1MDB scandals but not enough to create a Malay tsunami. In Scenario 2, BN loses 5% of Malay support and 1% of non-Malay support (compared to GE2013).
There is also a chance that the conditions will be created for a “Malaysian tsunami” to take place in GE14. In this scenario, Scenario 3, BN loses 10% of Malay support and a further 5% support among non-Malays (compared to GE2013). PAS, because of its isolated position and also the public perception that it is being ‘used and abused’ by UMNO, only managed to win 10% of Malay support.
What will happen under these 3 scenarios? (Assume that DAP and PKR will contest in the seats previously contested in GE2013, AMANAH and BERSATU will contest in seats previously contested by PAS and PAS will contest in all parliament seats in Peninsular Malaysia)
Table 1 below summarizes the changes in the level of BN support and the project PAS support among Malay, Chinese, Indian and Other voters in GE14.
Table 1: Changes in BN support and PAS support in GE14 under Scenarios 1, 2, and 3
Not surprisingly, under Scenario 1, the role of PAS as a spoiler will help BN by allowing it to win 113 out of 165 parliaments seats in Peninsular Malaysia (compared to 85 seats in GE2013). PAS will also be affected, winning only 6 parliament seats (compared to 21 in GE2013). Pakatan Harapan will end up with only 46 seats (compared to 80 for Pakatan Rakyat in GE2013).
Under Scenario 2, where the BN backlash is not sufficient to create a Malaysian tsunami, BN and PH would end up with 80 parliament seats each with PAS winning only 2 parliament seats.
Under Scenario 3, a Malaysian tsunami would leave the BN with only 50 seats and PH winning an overwhelming majority of 113 parliament seats in Peninsular Malaysia. PAS would be left with only 2 parliament seats.
Table 2: Number of parliament seats in Peninsular Malaysia won under Scenarios 1, 2, and 3
Are the conditions ripe for a Malaysian tsunami? There are definitely signs pointing to this becoming a reality in the next general elections. Previous ceramahs in rural areas that were only attended by a handful of people now see people turning out in the hundreds. When BERSATU leaders such as Tun Dr. Mahathir and / or Tan Sri Muhyiddin are present, the numbers can easily swell to the thousands including the FELDA areas which were previously ‘no-go’ areas for the opposition. Recent survey results also indicate that PAS is losing ground among the electorate and the perception among Malay voters that the RUU355 issue is being used by UMNO to ‘manipulate’ PAS is also growing.
With this in mind, I call upon Malaysians of all races and backgrounds to unite together to create a Malaysian Tsunami which will wipe out the BN in the next general election and allow the country to start on a clean slate with Pakatan Harapan leading the way to a better and brighter future for the country.