Top priority for PR is to set up a high-level PR 14GE strategic council to plan for the capture of federal government in Putrajaya in next general elections
Congratulations are in order to PAS leaders and delegates for a very successful 59th Muktamar at national, youth and wanita levels, causing great disappointments to UMNO plotters and conspirators who had worked overtime through their printed or social media in cyberspace to sow dissension and distrust within PAS ranks and to sabotage the unity of purpose of Pakatan Rakyat and giving hope to enlightened Malaysians who comprise the majority of the electorate that two-coalition politics in Malaysia is here to stay as it is very much alive and kicking. AS Deputy President Mohamad Sabu struck the nail on the head when he pointed out in his winding-up speech at the 59th Muktamar that PAS would only be a regional party confined to the east coast of the peninsula if it had not entered into a pact with PKR and DAP in Pakatan Rakyat.
As Sabu succinctly said:
“Without Pakatan, our area of dominance would only stretch from Rantau Panjang (in northern Kelantan) to Kemaman (southern Terengganu).
“But with Pakatan, we conquered Selangor and, God willing, it will be Johor next.”
In 1999, when PAS benefitted most from the backlash against BN because of the 1998 political and economic crisis, it won 27 parliament and 98 state seats making it the largest opposition party.
However, 93% and 86% of the parliament and state seats won by PAS was in its “Northern” heartland of Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.
In 2004, as a result of the Pak Lah “Tsunami”, PAS was reduced to 6 parliament and 33 state seats (100% and 94% of which, respectively, were in the Northern states).
2008 marked a significant shift in PAS’s support outside the 4 Northern States. PAS won 23 parliament and 83 state seats in total, out of which 70% and 76% were in the 4 Northern States.
In 2013, PAS won 2 fewer parliament seats (21 vs 23) but won 2 more state seats (85 vs 83) and this time, 67% and 66% of parliament and state seats respectively were in the 4 Northern States (See Table 1 below) Table 1: Distribution of PAS Parliament and State seats (1999 to 2013)
|Perlis, Kedah, K'tan & T'gganu||25||84||6||33||16||63||14||56|
Being part of Pakatan has helped PAS venture beyond its core 4 northern states.
The setback faced by PAS in Kedah in 2013 cannot be explained in terms of PAS participation in Pakatan but more so because of internal factors. Similar explanations can be used for the slight decrease in support for PAS in Kelantan.
If being part of Pakatan hurt PAS in the Malay heartland, then PAS would not have made gains in Terengganu.
Moving forward, it is clear that the states which have and will continue to experience the largest population growth in Peninsular Malaysia are Selangor, KL and Johor. These are where most of the new seat increases (parliament and state) will occur.
Many of the new seats will be ethnically ‘mixed’ seats.
Hence, if PAS wants to continue to make inroads beyond its 4 Northern States, it must work together in the context of Pakatan to maximize its Malay as well as non-Malay support. In the 4 Northern States, PAS must look internally to strengthen itself and Pakatan.
Another way of examining PAS’ performance out on a state by state basis is to analyse the % of votes obtained by PAS in the seats contested by PAS in each state.
This information is shown in Table 2 below.
PAS support in Kelantan and Terengganu reached its highest level in 1999 (60.5% and 58.7% respectively). PAS support in Kedah was the highest in 2008 when it won 50.6% of total votes in the seats it contested in. In 2013, even though PAS support is lower in Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu compared to 1999, it is still much higher than in 2004.
At the same time, PAS’ support outside the 4 Northern States have increased significantly since 1999 especially in Penang (16.8% increase), Selangor (11.0%), Negeri Sembilan (5.1%) and Johor (7.2%). This shows that being part of Pakatan has clearly paid dividends for PAS in these states. Table 2: % of votes won by PAS in PAS contested parliament seats (1999 to 2013) Parliament (As a % of Votes in PAS Seats)
Being part of Pakatan definitely helped PAS win two new parliament seats in 2013 that it could not have won without Pakatan’s support.
In Temerloh, a 63% Malay, 26% Chinese, 9% Indian seat, PAS won with a 1070 majority with very strong support coming from the 35% non-Malay voters in this seat.
In Sepang, a 59% Malay, 23% Chinese, 18% Indian seat, PAS won with a 1142 majority against a former UMNO Minister again with very strong support coming from the 41% non-Malay voters in this area.
For PAS to win back some of the marginal seats which it lost such as Sungai Besar (34% non-Malay), Kuala Selangor (36% non-Malay) and Titiwangsa (32% non-Malay), it must utilize the strength of the Pakatan brand and cooperation.
It is not just PAS which had benefitted from its partnership in Pakatan Rakyat, as the same case can be made for both the DAP and PKR as well.
There can be no doubt that by forming the coalition, the three component parties of DAP, PKR and PAS could not only individually win greater number of parliamentary and state assembly seats than when they are contesting on their own, they could also achieve a greater sum total of the overall number of parliamentary and state assembly seats countrywide.
The top priority for Pakatan Rakyat at present is to set up a high-level PR 14GE strategic council to plan for the capture of federal government in Putrajaya in next general elections as well as to achieve optimum election results for PR in the various states.