“Non-Malays spooked by Islamic law, won’t vote for PAS,” say analysts

POLITICAL analysts have dismissed the likelihood of a shift in non-Malay support towards Perikatan Nasional (PN), citing concerns about PN component PAS amid talk of dissatisfaction with the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar-led unity government.

An FMT report noted University of Tasmania’s Prof James Chin as saying that concerns over the implementation of shariah law would be a significant deterrent for non-Malay voters.

“The non-Malays are very afraid of PAS. They are afraid of Islamic law because PAS has made it very clear that the law will be first introduced to Muslims – and then sooner or later, everybody will go through it regardless of whether you are a Muslim or not,” he told the news portal today (Nov 30).

Chin also cited the lacklustre election results of Gerakan, PN’s multiracial component which lost all of its deposits at last year’s general election after meeting with defeat in every seat contested.

Chin added that Gerakan’s abysmal outing at GE15 indicated that non-Malay voters were distancing themselves from the coalition.

“This clearly demonstrates that non-Muslims have a significant fear of PAS,” he remarked.

Chin was referring to an incident on June 25 in Kota Bharu, where a non-Muslim woman was fined by the Kota Bharu Municipal Council (MPKB) for wearing shorts at public places.

“It illustrated a stringent enforcement that had also contributed to the non-Malay fear of PAS and PN. No matter how much they (the non-Malays) are disappointed with Anwar, they will not vote for PN. They would rather not come out to vote.

“If Anwar wished to regain the support of non-Malay voters, the primary focus should be on steering the country back towards a moderate, middle path in its policies and governance.

“At the end of the day, bread-and-butter issues are very important. Many non-Malay voters reside in urban regions where financial stability is essential,” Chin opined.

Singapore Institute of International Affair’s Oh Ei Sun concurred, saying that it was unlikely Chinese voters would back PN due to the Islamist party’s perceived extremism.

“The sun will perhaps rise from the west before Chinese voters will support PAS and, by extension, PN,” Oh told the news portal in the same report.

Oh said that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman remained the only feasible option regardless of any dislike or disappointment towards Anwar or his policies.

“For most right-thinking Chinese, voting for PN is tantamount to pandemonium. In that sense, it will be very difficult for PAS to make any gains from any potential non-support of the Chinese towards Anwar,” he said.

Oh pointed out that while PN could theoretically distance itself from PAS in order to gain Chinese support, this would pose as a challenge.

“This is because PAS holds a significant portion of the seats in PN, amounting to nearly two-thirds of the coalition’s total in Parliament,” Oh said.

In this year’s GE15, PN managed to win 73 seats with PAS alone managed to secure 48 seats while PN lynchpin party Bersatu won 25 seats. – Nov 30, 2023


Main pic credit: RiseMalaysia

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