A study of voting patterns by an independent think tank has concluded that in order to defeat Barisan Nasional (BN), the opposition should field a candidate from Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) in Sungai Besar, while Pas can contest in Kuala Kangsar, in by-elections next month.
Ilham Centre said the suggestion followed extensive field work it carried out in both constituencies as well as studies of voting patterns in past elections.
“Even if Pas goes ahead to field candidates in both seats, I propose that Amanah only contests in Sungai Besar.
“Amanah has a winning chance with the full support of Chinese voters in Sekinchan within the Sungai Besar parliamentary seat, while Chinese votes will not go to Pas this time.
“As such, Amanah has a better chance of winning in Sungai Besar and if Pas decides to contest here, it would come out third after BN and Amanah,” Ilham Centre executive chairman Hisomuddin Bakar told Malaysia Dateline.
He said in the last polls, Pas garnered about 8,000 or 70.3% of Chinese votes in Sungai Besar, which was below the 88% Selangor average for Chinese support to Pakatan Rakyat candidates in 2013 general election.
“If Pas contests here, I forecast the party will lose up to 5,000 Chinese votes.”
Some 33% of Sg Besar voters are ethnic Chinese, mostly concentrated in the Sekinchan state constituency won by DAP’s Ng Sue Lim.
“If this happens, Pas can only depend on Malay voters,” added Hisomuddin, who has made near-accurate predictions of voting patterns in the past, including during the recent Sarawak state polls.
The Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections are being held on June 18, following the deaths of Datuk Noriah Kasnon and Datuk Wan Muhammad Khairil Anuar Wan Ahmad in a helicopter crash in Sarawak early this month.
In the 2013 elections, Noriah, with 18,695 votes, defeated Pas’s Mohamed Salleh Husin, with 18,296 votes, a razor-thin majority of 399 votes.
In Kuala Kangsar, Khairil Anuar defeated Pas’s Khalil Idham Lim Abdullah by a 1,082-majority.
Hisomuddin said in Kuala Kangsar, with only 24% Chinese voters, Pas stood a better chance at winning than an Amanah candidate.
“Amanah will end up third if it joins the contest in Kuala Kangsar,” he added.
However, he said Pas’s victory hinged on solid suppport for its candidate from other opposition parties.
He also said both Amanah and Pas would not be perceived as being arrogant if each decided to contest in only one of the seats.
Top Pas leaders have said the party would field candidates in both seats even if it meant multi-cornered fights which could favour BN.
Pakatan Harapan, which comprises PKR, DAP and Amanah, is expected to announce the coalition’s decision today.