A test of unity in unity government

PETALING JAYA: While issues involving public infrastructure are expected to take the limelight in states like Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu, the “unity” in the current government will also come under scrutiny in all six impending state elections.

Experts said the government has to project a united front and a non-cooperative attitude could be costly.

“While the seat allocation process will be based on the results of the 14th General Election (GE14), the parties involved must show tolerance and a cooperative spirit and give a chance to their peers,” said Dr Mazlan Ali of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s Razak Faculty Perdana Centre.

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“The unity government must show a united front,” he said.

For example, he said Pakatan Harapan, which rules Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Penang, can give the seats previously won by Bersatu to Barisan’s Umno.

Bersatu was part of the Pakatan coalition in GE14 before pulling out during the Sheraton Move in February 2020, leaving the coalition with three component parties – PKR, DAP and Amanah.

Mazlan said constituencies with huge Malay vote banks should go to Umno.

“Pakatan’s performance in Kelantan and Terengganu was not good but Umno is quite dominant in those states. The few constituencies that Pakatan can win, especially in urban areas, could be given to them by Barisan.

“Parties must cut their coat according to their cloth. Not cooperating can lead to a huge loss,” said Mazlan.

He said state governments needed to have a good relationship with the Federal Government to ensure the success of their programmes and policies.

Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia said among the things to look for were whether the “3R” (race, religion and rulers) issues would dominate or if local issues will be played up.

“Also, (it will be seen) if the unity government can capture the imagination of voters,” he said.

Prof Sivamurugan also said that compromise and sacrifice could be the key and a “united front” was needed to inspire confidence and trust among voters.

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