‘Pas would show who is the boss in PN’

‘Pas would be going all out in the upcoming Sungai Bakap by-election to prove who is the boss in the opposition coalition, Perikatan Nasional, said independent senator, Datuk Sivaraj.

“Observing from outside, it looks like there are problems between Pas and Bersatu. Pas did not go all out in Kuala Kubu Baharu (by-election). They may be out to prove who is relying on components for survival. It is a good opportunity for Pas to show who is the boss.

“There is going to be six parliament by-elections. The seats would be declared vacant soon. Pas wants to place its candidate so Sungai Bakap would be a turning point for them,” said Sivaraj who is also a co-host of Sana Sini podcast that focused on the Sungai Bakap by-election and diesel price hike.

He was commenting on the upcoming Sungai Bakap by election that is scheduled for July 6, with nominations scheduled for June 22 and early voting scheduled on July 2.

Sungai Bakap is a semi-urban Penang state constituency made up of 59.4% Malay, 22.5% Chinese, 17.4% Indian, and 0.7% other voters.

The six parliament constituency by-elections are in reference to seats held by Bersatu MPs who turned ‘rogue’ by supporting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s administration.

The affected seats are Bukit Gantang, Jeli, Gua Musang, Kuala Kangsar, Labuan and Tanjung Karang. Bersatu are booting out the MPs from the party to trigger a by-election but Pas have staked their claim on all six constituencies.

Political analyst Datuk Dr Sivamurugan Pandian of USM who is also a co-host of the show foresees a tough battle ahead between Pas candidate Abidin Ismail and PKR candidate Dr Joohari Ariffin.

USM political analyst Datuk Dr Sivamurugan Pandian

“It is going to be a tough fight even though it doesn’t affect the state government. They have 29 out of 40 seats.

“However there is the question of moral legitimacy. If it is a win for Pas, it shows that the green wave (is there). If not, though we are seeing a new kind of wave, that cannot be determined in a by-election. voters turnout is going to be low. I don’t think it would reach 70%.

Elaborating further he listed several factors that would lead to a by-election with low voter turn out.

“Outsiders wouldn’t return because it doesn’t affect state or federal (governments). That could be one of the factor. Fatigue voters could also influence voting pattern.

Local issues in Sungai Bakap

“In the end it is also important for the state government to show they won another seat. It is time to resolve issues and state would want to convince voters on water tariffs. That will be an issue too.

Earlier the academic highlighted several local issues affecting the people in Sungai Bakap.

“Definitely diesel rationalisation would be an issue. The influx of foreign workers are affecting the locals.

“Flood is a major problem too,” he said.

Going by the electoral result during the state polls last year, he pointed out that PKR’s Nurul Hidayah Che Rose had lost 12.5% of the Malay votes to Pas.

“Having a local candidate would be a major factor.

“It could be protest voters from Umno. If Umno machinery can work closely and show that it can bring the voters out and vote, It could be a main factor to win (the seat).

“Leaders seen as liability better not come, especially political tourists. Locals understand the political culture better. Let the local machinery move,” he said.

While both agreed that the Indian and Chinese have mostly decided to vote for since they don’t have much of a choice, Sivaraj did throw a word of caution.

“On that note PH also cannot take the 17% Indian voters for granted because protest can be done by voting opposition or by not going to vote.”