‘Lower majority in PH-controlled states an indication people are unhappy with unity govt’

The Pakatan Harapan (PH)-Barisan Nasional (BN) tag team may have prevailed in Penang, Selangor, and Negeri Sembilan, but the people have made their feelings clear about this ‘unholy alliance’.

PH’s lower majority in Selangor and Penang, and its inability to make inroads in the Perikatan Nasional (PN)-dominated areas show that the people are unhappy that PH is working with its ‘sworn enemy’, said political analyst, Associate Professor Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk.

PN made a clean sweep in Terengganu, and continued to take charge of Kelantan and Kedah. But it was the close call in the overall results that should be a cause for concern for PH.

Azeem said that the voters remain confounded that two bitter ‘enemies’ – PH and BN – ended up working together after Malaysia’s 15th General Election last November.

“Like it or not, these (state) elections are a referendum of how people feel about the ‘grand coalition’ or ‘unity’ government, as they call themselves,” said Azeem, director of Centre for Policy Research, Universiti Sains Malaysia.

“They cannot believe that BN, specifically Umno, is accepted, and is working with PKR and DAP. This comes after a bitter election campaign last November.

“Those who voted for PH did so because they did not want Umno. The same is true of BN supporters – they did not want DAP and PKR in power.”

PH-BN won 34 of 56 seats in Selangor, 31 of 36 in Negeri Sembilan, and 29 of 40 seats in Penang.

In the 2018 election in Selangor, PH won 51 seats, BN 4, while Pas won one seat. In Negeri Sembilan, BN won 16, while PH won 20 seats. PH won 37 seats in Penang, BN 2, and Pas 1 seat.

Yesterday, PN continued its dominance in Kedah by winning 33 of 36 seats. In Kelantan, it won 43 of 45, and in Terengganu it won all 32 seats.

In 2018, PH won 18 seats in Kedah, while BN won three, and Pas won 15. In Kelantan, Pas won 37 seats, while BN won eight. In Terengganu, Pas won 22 seats, while BN managed only 10.

PN chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin described the results as “encouraging”. He urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his deputy, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to “shoulder the moral responsibility and resign immediately.”

Anwar, who stood alongside Ahmad Zahid and several other leaders from the unity government at the World Trade Centre last night, said he respected the people’s decision. He added that the federal government will remain strong, and will continue to serve the rakyat.

Anwar and members of the unity government facing the media at the World Trade Centre.

Azeem said that while the elections would have no bearing on the federal government, it showed that PH needs to do more to win the Malay votes.

Azeem added PH-BN also made a huge mistake in making Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor a ‘hero’.

“From a state leader, he was catapulted into the national spotlight. It backfired spectacularly,” said Azeem.

“He would have been a non-issue if they had not engaged with him. Instead, he became a martyr and a hero. He is one of the reasons PN ate into the three states held by PH.”

Azeem added that if PH suspected that Sanusi, who is also national election director for PN was involved in wrongdoing, they should have just gathered evidence and quickly charged him.

On Aug 1, a picture purportedly showing Sanusi with a Chinese individual wanted in connection with the theft of rare earth elements (REE) minerals in Kedah was made public by Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

“It was unnecessary, as it only fed the narrative that the government was out to tarnish Sanusi’s reputation,” said Azeem.

“It would have been better to furnish evidence to the authorities that Sanusi was involved in the alleged crime.”

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