Malacca election a barometer for GE15

by HARIZAH KAMEL / graphic by MZUKRI MOHAMAD 

THE Malacca state election will be a barometer of how Malaysians will vote during the 15th General Election (GE15).

Universiti Putra Malaysia political scientist Prof Dr Jayum Anak Jawan said the Malacca election will be a watershed of sort as it is already known that the Peninsular Malay votes have been split into supporting Umno, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, PAS and PKR.

“So, the Malacca election will see whom the state’s population will back and this is significant as it will hint at how the Peninsular Malays might cast their votes when GE15 is held in or before 2023.

“Umno needs to know whether, on their own, they still have strong support among the Peninsular Malay voters. Working together with other parties means conceding some seats to their partner, and this will not be enough to test whether Umno still has the Malays’ support or not,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) on Monday.

He said the line of political contest has long been drawn and it is between Barisan Nasional (BN), Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Pakatan Harapan (PH).

He added that a temporary arrangement or ceasefire merely serves to give a working majority or support to a minority government.

Thus, all parties and/or coalitions would be eager to test their respective popularity among the voters, and the Malacca election is the best opportunity for this.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia senior lecturer (political study) Dr Mazlan Ali expects that if a three-cornered contest takes place between PH, BN and PN, more parties would probably participate, which will bring more “excitement” in this state election.

Among the parties that he believes would participate — with the exception of Parti Pejuang Tanah Air who officially declared on Monday that it will not contest — are Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia or Putra, Barisan Jemaah Islamiah Se-Malaysia or Berjasa and independent candidates who may try their luck.

He also said that the Election Commission should introduce some strict conditions on the advice of the National Security Council and the Health Ministry.

“We anticipate that physical campaigns would not be permitted and even voting may be more than one day to allow strict standard operating procedures to be observed,” TMR was told.

Meanwhile, Universiti Utara Malaysia political analyst Prof Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani said Umno has already decided to contest solo, thinking they could win in a predominantly Malay turf.

“Umno believes that it has grassroot support in the area. PN is not strong, specifically with Bersatu which is very weak because it is still a new party, while PAS does not have a strong presence in Malacca.

“PAS wants Umno to collaborate with them, without which, PAS will not gain seats just like in the previous election where it contested 24 seats and won none.”

He said PH has support in Malacca, particularly among the urbanites and also the non-Malays, but is uncertain on how many voters will come out.

“As we know, not everyone agrees with this state election, which is happening during the endemic period.

“Probably in terms of turnout rate, it is going to drop significantly, but we do not know by how much,” he elaborated.

Another crucial factor is the young voters, which he said all parties are “scared” of, citing this segment of voters as unpredictable and that its exact turnout rate is still undetermined.

“Malacca will be an open contest, but we suspect either BN or PH will win,” he concluded.