The results in the Malacca state election should serve a lesson to Pakatan Harapan that listening to the grassroots and understanding voter sentiments matter, analysts said.
They also told The Malaysian Insight that replacing Anwar Ibrahim as the pact’s head would not solve its problems, as there is no one in the coalition who can replace the opposition leader.
They opined that PH must relook at their strategy and understand voters’ sentiments if they want to succeed in the general election.
In the Malacca elections, Barisan Nasional (BN) clinched a two-thirds majority after winning 21 of the 28 seats.
PH stood in all 28 seats with PKR fielding candidates in 11 seats, Amanah (9) and DAP (8). PKR lost all 11 seats to BN.
PH won five seats, with DAP winning four and Amanah one.
Among PKR’s big names who lost were PKR information chief Shamsul Iskandar in Paya Rumput and former Malacca chief minister Idris Haron in Asahan.
University Malaya senior academic, Prof Awang Azman Awang Pawi said PKR, especially Anwar, must listen to the grassroots more in the future.
This was after he accepted ex-Umno man Idris to contest under PKR in Asahan while replacing Machap Jaya assemblywoman Ginie Lim, who was a popular figure in the seat, with an unknown candidate.
Idris picked up only 2,561 votes to BN’s 5,048. Ginie was said to be in Mohamed Azmin Ali’s camp when the latter was in PKR.
“This is a lesson to Anwar Ibrahim to listen to the grassroots next time and understand the voters’ sentiments.
“Idris Haron did not increase PKR’s votes. In fact, it was one of the reasons why PH lost. They need to study why BN managed to win in Malacca. Is it because PH was weak or if BN was strong?” he asked.
Awang Azman added that PKR may need to bring out capable individuals such as Nurul Izzah Anwar or Rafizi Ramli.
“They have to look back at their strategy and bring out people like Nurul Izzah and Rafizi more often.
“This is not about replacing Anwar, this is about strategy matters not personalities,” he said.
Iman Research programme director Badrul Hisham Ismail agreed with Awang Azman, saying that PKR was disconnected with the voters in Malacca.
He said although many wanted Anwar to be replaced, there was no one in the coalition who could take over Anwar’s role.
“It is about strategy and leadership. The problem with Anwar is that he does not want to listen to people’s sentiments.
“What is so special about Idris that Anwar wants him? This baffles me. Voters do not want political frogs no matter what excuse you use to justify their actions.”
“If you see the Chinese votes, it is not that they wanted MCA, but they wanted to show their protest.
“But who can replace Anwar? There is no number 2 that can take over. But they need an overhaul to face GE15,” he stressed.
Asked if PH needed Dr Mahathir Mohamad again, Badrul said that it won’t make such a difference.
“I think it will backfire. After how he stepped down and (was not) firm on Anwar as his replacement. Voters won’t buy it this time,” he said.
Anwar to blame
Geostrategist Prof Azmi Hassan of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, meanwhile, said PH must look for a candidate who can be groomed to fill in Anwar’s shoes.
He explained PH can no longer describe Anwar as PM-designate.
“DAP lost four of their seats this time to Umno and MCA. Whose fault is that? It is Anwar’s fault.
“The problem is they do not have someone to replace him. From now on, PKR or PH must look for someone to be put forward instead of the Port Dickson MP.
Badrul mirrored Azmi’s sentiment but said that PH does not have enough time to groom someone as GE is just around the corner.
BN will not wait any longer, he said.
Umno made a triumphant return to power in Malacca by leading Barisan Nasional (BN) to a huge victory in the state polls, with the coalition winning 21 of the 28 state seats, returning to form a new government with a two-third majority.
Umno, boosted by Najib Razak’s campaigning, won 18 of the seats, followed by MCA (2) and MIC (1).
For PN, Bersatu won two seats while its allies PAS and Gerakan failed to win anything.
In the last general election, Umno won 13 seats, followed by DAP (8), PKR (3), Bersatu (2) and Amanah (2). – TMI