Bersatu in limbo after massive PAS win in Kemaman

TERENGGANU Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar won the Kemaman by-elections with a massive 37,000 vote margin and for some, this is not good news for the party of former prime minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his party Bersatu who are partners of the PAS in the Perikatan Nasional (PN).Ahmad Samsuri got 64,968 votes to defeat the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Brig Gen (B) Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor who only got 27,839 votes.Some PAS supporters are already saying the MB won more votes than PM Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Jokingly, they are suggesting that the PM should be someone who has won by a bigger margin.Analysts and online commentators suggest that given PAS’s endorsement of Ahmad Samsuri as the next premier or PM11 candidate, backed by former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he should assume the position of the new leader of the opposition in Parliament.Currently, it is Larut MP Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin who is the opposition leader but his party is seeing the defection of some of its MP which is weakening Bersatu’s influence in the PN.While everyone is waiting for a Cabinet reshuffle to be announced by Anwar, it is the opposition benches in Parliament that are getting shuffled.Five members of the Bersatu have left the opposition benches and some of them are already sitting as independents in Parliament. They promise there are more to come.On the other hand, if the PAS wants to challenge Anwar for the post of PM, Ahmad Samsuri should play a bigger role in Parliament and not sit as a backbencher while Hamza gets grilled by the government backbenchers and ministers.In an editorial piece, Harapan Daily portal wrote that with Dr Mahathir’s endorsement of Ahmad Samsuri as the next PM candidate, Bersatu is entering the eclipse phase.The portal says Muhyiddin was also not present when Dr Mahathir announced who should be the next PM if the opposition were to grab power.“This also means that Bersatu, or more precisely, Muhyiddin cannot dream of his address in Seri Perdana. This by-election has made Bersatu irrelevant in the opposition alliance – Perikatan Nasional,” says the editorialist.There are indeed many questions that are raised about the strategy adopted by the PAS in the Kemaman elections. It put into question the role and use of Muhyiddin who is leading the PN with a smaller number of MPs now.With the PAS firmly sitting as the backbone of the PN coalition, will it leave the most important parliamentary role in the hands of a waning Bersatu? It is the role of the opposition leader in Parliament that reflects whether the opposition is ready to become a worthy alternative to the ruling government.So what is the point of Hamzah being the leader of the Opposition when the support and backbone of the PN is PAS and the Bersatu is losing to Anwar? – Dec 3, 2023

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