PH had lost its appeal to the masses.
Pakatan Harapan (PH) must rethink its strategy as its heads towards the general election after losing badly in the Malacca polls, analysts said.
They questioned Anwar Ibrahim’s leadership of the coalition which had put in a disastrous performance in the state.
In the Malacca elections, Barisan Nasional (BN) clinched a two-thirds majority after winning 21 of the 28 seats.
University of Tasmania political analyst Prof James Chin said PH needs to reconsider having Anwar as the leader of the coalition ahead of the next GE.
He said Anwar’s decisions for PH had failed to bear fruit.
“I think for PH members, they would need to do a lot of soul-searching as to whether they want to keep Anwar as their leader.
Chin said Anwar, who was in Sarawak during the polls, had anticipated the Malacca results.
“As you know, towards the end of the campaign, he flew off to Sarawak.
“I think he saw this coming, and I suspect in Sarawak they will not do very well either. Two big losses in a row for Anwar will be really bad for PH,” he said.
Chin said the future of PH did not look bright with Anwar in the lead.
“If Anwar is to lead the PH coalition in the next general election, assuming the political situation does not change, Pakatan will lose.
“Not only Umno, but BN will be able to make a comeback,” he said.
Political analyst and senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs Oh Ei Sun agreed it could be time for Anwar step down.
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.
Among the party’s big names who lost were PKR information chief Shamsul Iskandar in Paya Rumput and former Malacca chief minister Idris Haron in Asahan.
Pakatan losing popularity
lham Centre executive director Hisommudin Bakar said PH’s poor performance could be attributed to several factors, including low voter turnout.
However, he said PH had lost its appeal to the masses.
He said some of its decisions in the run-up to the elections did not go down well with the voters, including its admission of defectors who had caused the Malacca government to collapse.
“It’s very obvious that PH has lost its appeal in these elections. Not only have they lost the support of the Malay voters, but the Chinese voters also seem to be punishing them.
“The Anwar factor is also not able to boost the popularity of PH in Malacca. Everything it did went wrong.
“The Chinese voters were not motivated to go out and help PH this time. DAP needs to monitor the Chinese support now because they might shift back to MCA if PH fails to define a clear direction in the future,” he said.
Hisommudin said PH also failed to raise any key issues in this election.
He said PH needs a major reform if it is to see better results in the next general election.
“The strength of PH was due to the issues it fought for. In the past, PH came forward raising issues that defended the people such as the cost of living, goods and services tax, the 1MDB scandal and others.
“Now it is not clear what it is fighting for.
“PH needs a massive reform of its key leadership. If it fails to change, in GE15 it will be punished by the people as has happened in Malacca,” Hisommudin said.
He said one of many reasons Malacca folk stayed away from the polls was because of their disappointment in PH’s decision to take in defectors.
“In this election, PH failed to create the kind of wild effect it did in the 2018 general election. The cry for change and so on did not happen.
“Because there were defections that toppled the government, people, especially the non-Malays, felt very disappointed and disenchanted. They thought it would make no difference if they voted. So many of them opted to stay home,” he said.
Citing the results of the Sabah and Malacca elections, Oh said a low voter turnout had favoured parties opposing PH.
“You can see from the results of both Malacca and Sabah, when the voting rate or turnout is low, it favours at least Umno because Umno has tremendous machinery to mobilise its supporters to vote.
“Those who didn’t show up were typically the more fussy PH supporters. This simply means PH doesn’t have the kind of machinery and it has failed to capture the imagination of its voters. Many just didn’t bother,” he said.
Oh said PH could not expect to be government after such a performance.
“No one seriously thinks PH will win GE15. – TMI