PETALING JAYA: The huge majority of 37,220 votes gained by Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar in the Kemaman by-election is an indication that PAS will stay strong in Terengganu, at least until the next general election, says a political analyst.
That is unless Umno makes changes in the state leadership given the growing discontent with the current line-up, Dr Mazlan Ali of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia said.
“It is not normal for one political party to have several cliques in just one state. Umno needs to change its leadership in Terengganu.
“The party does not lack the strength and support to win.
“Umno is unable to win because of ‘cah keting’ or internal sabotage in Terengganu Umno, while PAS and Perikatan Nasional gained support from young voters due to their effective social media presence,” said Mazlan, who specialises in east coast state politics.
Cah keting is a term usually used in the east coast states meaning to sabotage or backstab.
The Kemaman by-election was held following a Terengganu Election Court decision to nullify the victory of PAS candidate Che Alias Hamid in GE15, which cited that corruption had taken place with the aim of influencing voters in the polls.
Mazlan suggested that if Ahmad Samsuri were to be elevated as Parliament Opposition Leader, it could boost the standing of PAS at the national political stage.
He also believes that the victory is also an indication that PAS is ready to take over the administration at the federal level.
By choosing Ahmad Samsuri, seen as a progressive leader as its prime minister candidate, PAS was keen to show that it could be the dominant party in Perikatan Nasional, he added.
However, Mazlan said this could lead to friction especially with its partner Bersatu.
“PAS lacks the support among Sabah and Sarawak voters. These two vital states will give any party a major electoral advantage.
“Just because PAS is getting a big number of Malay votes in the country doesn’t mean Ahmad Samsuri can be the prime minister.
“Malaysia is multi-racial and the image of PAS among the non-Malays has never been favourable.
“PAS will always need Bersatu to lead Perikatan and a prime minister candidate will has to be from Bersatu,” he said, adding that communities in Sabah and Sarawak are not into religious-based politics.
Perikatan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the huge majority won by Ahmad Samsuri was “proof” that support for the unity government was diminishing.
“This victory brought a majority of 37,220 votes, which is an increase of nearly 10,000 votes during GE15.
“This is a clear sign that the support of the people is leaning strongly towards PAS, and Perikatan in general,” he said in a Facebook post.
He added that the results showed that the unity government’s was wavering, especially among the Malays.
PAS secretary-general Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan said in a statement that the Pakatan-Barisan cooperation failed to score more votes compared to their performance in GE15.
PKR communications chief Fahmi Fadzil suggested that Ahmad Samsuri’s victory could lead to a change of the Opposition Leader in Parliament.
He added that PAS looked very confident and it had a prime minister candidate in Ahmad Samsuri.
“Perhaps the next step after he (Ahmad Samsuri) is sworn in (as MP), is that he will also be chosen as the new Opposition Leader,” he added.