PH doomed if it doesn’t listen to grassroots

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Pakatan Harapan (PH) will lose in the 15th general election if it does not listen to the voice of its grassroots, according to a political analyst.

Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said the grassroots had objected to PH accepting candidates who had jumped parties, but the coalition’s leaders had not heeded them.

“In turn, this affected the sentiments of PH’s grassroots towards the coalition,” he told FMT.

Awang was referring to the former Umno duo of Idris Haron, who contested under the PH banner in Sungai Udang, and Nor Azman Hassan in Pantai Kundor.

The two were among four Melaka assemblymen who retracted support for Melaka chief minister Sulaiman Md Ali on Oct 4, paving the way for the state elections.

“Also, PH’s supporters felt that there was no guarantee these candidates would remain with the coalition if they won. There was a good chance they would jump to another party, just like they did before.”

This was one of the reasons behind Barisan Nasional’s (BN) thumping victory in the Melaka polls, winning 21 of the 28 seats up for grabs, he added.

Another reason Awang thinks BN was able to win was Umno’s continuous pressure on the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government by way of various demands to help the people during the Covid-19 pandemic, such as stimulus packages, loan repayment moratoriums, Employees Provident Fund withdrawal schemes, utility bill discounts and cash handouts.

Awang said BN’s win could also be attributed to former prime minister Najib Razak and BN chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi playing up the narratives of being “political victims”.

“An example would be Zahid, who alleged that he had been victimised by Dr Mahathir Mohamad for not dissolving Umno and not wanting to join Bersatu.

“This captured a generous amount of sympathy votes from the Umno grassroots as they perceived him as defending Umno to the very end.”

However, Awang cautioned that the Melaka state elections would not influence the federal government.

“In fact, if PH had won in Melaka, it would also not change the national political scenario.

“The BN victory can even become a trap for its supporters if they become complacent and forget the larger mission of capturing parliamentary seats,” he added.

He said while the Melaka polls could be an indicator of what is to come in the next general election, it did not guarantee that the pattern would repeat.

“Politics is dynamic, and anything can happen in the future.” – FMT