“Anwar to remain in control as non-Malays, Sabahan, Sarawakian unlikely to sway to Opposition front come GE16”

PERIKATAN Nasional (PN) will face an uphill task in overcoming the present unity government now and in the coming general elections.

Although the 16th General Election (GE16) will be held in three years’ time, PN will find it impossible to make inroads in Sabah and Sarawak, according to Council of Professors fellow Prof Datuk Jeniri Amir.

He pointed out that political parties in both states are firmly behind the unity government not only at present but also in the future.

“PN relies on the Malay vote bank to win power and this support is only in the peninsula but has failed to get the support of non-Malays in the peninsula,” he told FocusM.

To add to the inability to support the PN component party, Jeniri said PAS is viewed as an extremist party, hence not going down well with Sabahans and Sarawakians who see themselves as multi-racial.

Moreover, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) academician reckoned that Sabahans and Sarawakians further tend to support local-based parties, which makes it hard for PN to win there.

“Bersatu meanwhile is seen as non-existent in the two states as they have very little grassroots support. They have been very silent since the last general elections,” he pointed out.

“No party can hope to win the support of the people by simply appearing during the general elections and then disappearing until the next elections.”

In this regard, Jeniri said it is important for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the unity government to fulfill the aspirations of Sabahans and Sarawakians.

By doing so, he expects the present government to be able to continue to receive strong support from both states.

Meanwhile, Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research senior fellow Prof Dr Azmi Hassan said it would be very difficult for the PN to form the next federal government even after the general elections.

This is because PN relies solely on Malay support but non-Malays and Borneo voters are unwilling to support them.

“PAS is still being viewed as a very extreme party by the voters. The rhetoric put forward by PAS scares the voters,” he observed. “Non-Malay voters and urban Malays voters feel very uncomfortable with party. This makes it very hard for PN to win in the national polls.”

As such, the only way forward for PN is for PAS to put forward less extreme candidates but this is highly unlikely given that the party has won handsomely in Terengganu, Kelantan, Perlis and Kedah because of such candidates.

“PAS will not change as it is happy with ruling the four states,” asserted Azmi. “Voters in Borneo do not support parties that use race and religion to win votes, thus making it next to impossible for PN to win them over.” – Feb 4, 2024

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