Polls a litmus test for Bersatu and Undi18

KUALA LUMPUR: The Johor state election will help determine two major questions – the future of Bersatu and how Undi18 could shape the voting trend, say political analysts.

The outcome would determine Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s future in the state, said political analyst Dr Azmi Hassan.

It would also determine the political direction of Bersatu and PAS before the next general election, he said.

“The Melaka election did not give much sign to Bersatu on where it stands but I think Johor will be the benchmark.

“PAS will also have to decide who to support – Umno or Bersatu,” said Azmi.

In the Melaka election in November, Bersatu won just two state seats – Sungai Udang and Bemban – out of the 15 it contested.

PAS lost in all eight seats it contested, while Barisan Nasional secured a two-thirds majority after winning 21 of the 28 constituencies.

Pakatan Harapan also fared poorly in the Melaka election with PKR being completely wiped out after losing all the 11 seats it contested.

Amanah won one seat and DAP managed to retain merely four of its eight seats.

In the Sarawak election last month, the ruling coalition Gabungan Parti Sarawak won 76 state seats, while PKR and Amanah lost all the seats they contested.

DAP only managed to retain two seats.

Political analysts say Johor also will be the litmus test of Undi18 – unless the Election Commission decides it will rely on the electoral roll before the amendment was gazetted and came into effect on Dec 15.

A total of 700,000 new voters have been added to the rolls in Johor alone.

Senior Fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs Dr Oh Ei Sun said it would be hard to predict the leanings of these new young voters.

“I imagine some of them would be progressive, while others may be conservative like the older cohorts of voters.

“Also, younger voters do not necessarily come out to vote,” he said.

International Islamic University of Malaysia constitutional and administrative law lecturer Prof Dr Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmood also said the inclusion of more new voters would only have an impact if they cast their votes.

He noted that Barisan’s victory in the Melaka polls was due to a lower voter turnout.

“Yes, there will be more new voters but the problem is that they may not come out to vote,” he said.

Prof Nik Ahmad said that political parties must find ways to tap this new pool of voters.

“It is hard to predict how they will choose,” he said.

Universiti Malaya’s Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi noted the “strategic decision” to dissolve the state assembly yesterday, adding, however, that Malaysian politics were fluid at the moment.

“It could be strategic for Barisan to dissolve the assembly when the Pakatan leadership is in disarray, but anything can happen,” he said.

“The Pakatan leadership could get their act together by the time polling day comes.”

Prior to the dissolution of the state assembly, the state government led by Umno had a simple majority of 28 compared to Pakatan’s 27 following the death of Bersatu Kempas assemblyman Datuk Osman Sapian last month.

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Johor , state election , Bersatu , Undi18


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