GE15: New faces, voter turnout key factors for victory in Selangor

SHAH ALAM – Political analysts have indicated that new and popular candidates and the percentage of voter turnout are expected to be determining factors to see which political party will emerge victorious in Selangor in the upcoming 15th General Election (GE15).

Political analyst Dr Azmi Hassan said Selangor Barisan Nasional’s (BN) plans to field new faces in this election will be an advantage in attracting support in the state with the highest number of voters in Malaysia, as the party was now in a more comfortable position compared to GE14.

“New faces need not be young candidates, in the case of Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz and UMNO supreme council member Isham Jalil who will be fielded as such could provide at least one or two more seats for BN in Selangor,” he told Bernama.

Following Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) decision to go solo for the polls and the emergence of Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) and Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) in this election, he said the situation would indirectly favour BN as the expected split votes among Malays would occur among the opposition.

Selangor BN had been reported to be fielding 21 new faces, while Pakatan Harapan (PH) was reported to be fielding a mix of old and new faces that the coalition claimed were winnable candidates. PH held 16 out of 22 parliamentary seats in Selangor, with BN (one), Bersatu (three) and PBM (two) prior to the dissolution of Parliament.

Azmi said the decision by the PH-led government in Selangor to not dissolve the state legislative assembly in tandem with Parliament might come back to haunt the coalition as voters living outside Selangor need to return to vote for a second time and might be burdened by costs and time.

Meanwhile Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) Center For Media And information Warfare Studies (CMIWS), Faculty of Communication and Media Studies, Security and Political Analyst, Dr Noor Nirwandy Mat Noordin, said Selangor BN’s current plan is similar to that used by the coalition during the Johor and Melaka state elections, which have proved effective.

He cautioned that BN needed to choose proven and worthy candidates to attract voters’ hearts to compete against PH’s strategy that usually utilised glamourous candidates in strategic areas to garner the popular vote.

Noor Nirwandy said although PH had won the highest number of seats compared to other parties, the situation in GE15 was different and he expected that there would be pressure for the coalition to win this time around.

“The Johor and Melaka elections proved that BN has the advantage when voter turnout is low, and if the same situation occurs in GE15, then PH will be hard pressed to win, but if voter turnout is high, over 70 per cent, then BN will face pressure in gaining support from non-party members,” he said.

Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) political analyst, Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Fuad Othman also agreed with Noor Nirwandy, stating that new faces by BN in Selangor proved that the strategy used in the Johor and Melaka state elections were viewed as effective.

“But victory was be determined by low voter turnout in both elections, so their rivals would have a better chance of winning if the voter turnout is high,” he said.

He said parties need to ensure they had the best candidates and not merely rely on certain sentiments only as voters were tired and confused with the current political situation in the country.

“Also, the large number of new voters in this general election will be a big challenge for all parties. Those who can win over new voters will surely have an advantage,” he added.

Malaysians will go to the polls on Nov 19 to elect a new Parliament, with nominations being held on Nov 5 and early voting taking place on Nov 15. – Bernama