Game over for Gerakan in state polls after Hadi’s damning non-Malay ‘plunderers’ remark?

GERAKAN president Senator Datuk Dr Dominic Lau Hoe Chai can challenge Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow for a debate over the development of the Penang South Islands (PSI) strategic transformative development but such political mileage will likely dwarf backlashes it is getting from non-Malay voters after the latest debacle sparked by PAS president Tan Sri Hadi Awang.

Amid the looming state polls and Hadi’s accusation of non-Malays/Muslims being the “biggest plunderers” that con and deceive unsuspecting Malays/Muslims reverberating across both print and social media, the Penang Perikatan Nasional (PN) chief will surely find himself sandwiched between a rock and a hard place.

Yesterday (May 14), Selangor Gerakan chairman Datuk David Ang has called on Hadi to clarify why he thinks that the Malays were being ‘conned’ by the non-Muslims and non-Malays.

The Marang MP Hadi had also slammed Malays who worked with non-Muslims and non-Malays whom he claimed were the “biggest plunderers”, leading the Malays to lose their political power.

“I am shocked by the comment made by Hadi and I fully agree with our president’s response to the comment, deeming it as Hadi’s personal views,” he told the New Straits Times. “Nevertheless, the comment by Hadi does not add any salt nor make any impact on Gerakan’s support as we already lost 99% of the non-Malay support as shown in GE15 (15th General Election).”

Datuk Dr Dominic Lau Hoe Chai

Ang’s frankness is spot on as Gerakan is in an awkward position by virtue of being the smallest ally of an Opposition alliance which count all-Malay Bersatu and PAS, both of whom have their own share of controversies.

Not only that Gerakan is in a ‘toothless shape’, it is worth recalling how Lau was sidelined by PN from contesting in one of Penang’s 19 parliamentary seats during the GE15 on Nov 9 last year. The only consolation for him is his three-year senatorship portfolio which will expire on Nov 22 next year.

Unless Gerakan is able to douse the inferno from Hadi’s recent statement, general consensus among political observers is that Gerakan “can kiss goodbye’ to non-Malay support in the upcoming state polls for Selangor, Penang, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.

Even then, Gerakan is unlikely to desert PN, in view of a lack of alternatives that would make sense, according to Universiti Sains Malaysia political science professor Dr Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid.

“Being ostensibly multi-racial but Chinese-dominated, Gerakan cannot hope to fill in DAP’s shoes in Pakatan Harapan (PH), neither can it trump MCA’s position in Barisan Nasional (BN),” news portal Free Malaysia Today (FMT) quoted him as saying.

Instead, Gerakan’s role in PN was to attract non-Malay voters who are against both PH and BN, hence Ahmad Fauzi opined that PN could better present a “Malaysian face” by giving Gerakan more winnable seats.

In this regard, Lau has stated that his party has submitted 70 names of state poll candidates to PN’s supreme council for consideration.

Meanwhile, Senior Fellow at Singapore Institute of International Affairs Dr Oh Ei Sun told FMT that  it was “next to impossible” for Gerakan to gather non-Malay support as “most non-Malays fear the PAS theocratic agenda and Gerakan has chosen to associate itself with them”.

Just as PH could not expect to win significant Malay support, Gerakan could not be expected to win any non-Malay support, he added. – May 15, 2023

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