PETALING JAYA: Political analysts have warned Perikatan Nasional that the coming 15th general election could be the coalition’s last stand.
James Chin of the University of Tasmania’s Asia Institute said he believed that GE15 “is, more or less, the last roll of the dice” for PN.
Despite the current low morale in the coalition, he did not expect the coalition to back down from contesting the elections.
“If they cannot do well in GE15 then the coalition will fold, but they will definitely survive until GE15,” he told FMT.
Chin agreed with the view of National Council of Professors fellow Jeniri Amir that PN had lost significant leverage now that its chairman, Muhyiddin Yassin, was no longer the prime minister.
“In the Malaysian system, all the major patronage and major contracts come from the prime minister’s office, so obviously if you’re no longer the prime minister, you don’t control the patronage,” he said.
However, he said that although the bulk of rural Malays still supported Umno and Barisan Nasional, it was possible for PN to make headway if the different factions within the coalition worked together.
“Like in 2018, the trick is you need the majority. The problem is that the opposition is divided,” he said.
Universiti Malaysia Sabah associate professor Anantha Raman Govindasamy agreed that Muhyiddin was the most important person when it came to unifying the different factions of PN.
“Without him, I don’t think other coalition members, such as PAS, Gerakan or even parties from Sabah and Sarawak can move forward,” Anantha told FMT.
He said there were no other suitable leaders who could take up the task of unifying PN. “There is a sense that PN is a coalition of party hoppers, so there is a question of integrity and credibility.”