Will PN ever emerge triumphant in Selangor’s Battle Royale?

IS there going to be battle royal in Selangor between the incumbent forces and Perikatan Nasional (PN)?

In its campaigns, PN have focused on winning the majority of state seats in Selangor. The state assembly has been dissolved.

The Election Commission (EC) will fix the date of the elections in the six states after other state assemblies are dissolved.

Winning or losing state elections might not alter the position of the unity government at the Federal level as it has a comfortable parliamentary majority.

But then, if PN makes inroads to the extent of winning the states under the control of Pakatan Harapan (PH) or the unity government, wrong signals might be sent to the future stability of the unity government.

It is predicted that PN would not have any problem in capturing Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah although some seats could be lost to PH and UMNO.

PN is presenting the image that Selangor being the most developed and richest state might be captured by the coalition. As it is, out of 56 state seats, 34 are Malay majority ones.

Seats with simple Malay majority might not be problem for PH or Barisan Nasional (BN) as these seats could be won with the support of the non-Malays.

It is important that there must be higher turnout of non-Malay voters to offset the possible gains of the PN coalition.

Of course, it is all well and good for PN to give the impression that it is possible to grab the state of Selangor. The confidence by PN might be last ditch desperate effort to shore up confidence among the leaders and the grassroots.

But the reality might be far different. Except for Gerakan which has no solid footing in Selangor, it is puzzle as to how Selangor can be weaned to the side of PN.

The synthetic confidence is so much in PN even Penang is predicted to fall into their hands. Such a tall order has no meaning realistically.

While it can be conceded that more than 50% of Malay voters might prefer to go for PN in the three states under the control of PH, it is not that PKR, UMNO and Amanah don’t have Malay support at all.

It is predicted that incumbency at both the state and federal levels might increase Malay support for parties that are part of the unity government.

Of course, when we are taking about Malay majority, it is not so much about simple majority. It is more about constituencies having more than 65% to 70% Malay majority that might be susceptible to PN’s influence.

In areas of simple Malay majority – say more than 50% or less than 60% Malay majority – the countervailing presence of the non-Malays might give the advantage to PH and BN.

This is provided that there is a better turnout of non-Malay voters on the election day. It might be wishful thinking on the part of PN to say that Selangor and Penang for that matter is within their grasp.

Desperate political forces are bound to do desperate things at critical times. The forces in PN are no exception to this.

But whatever said and done, PH and BN must take the electoral threat of PN seriously. PN coalition’s short stint in power was a disaster. Malaysians don’t want the repeat in the future.

Race and religion might give a superficial sense of importance to PN but the twin pillars predicated on extremism and exclusion might be recipe for political disaster. – June 25, 2023


Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is the DAP state assemblyman for Perai. He is also Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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