Pas or any other parties contesting against Barisan Nasional in the upcoming Sungai Besar by-election in Selangor stands a bright chance to win, provided the opposition is united and Pas does not betray voters with its friendly gestures to Umno, says veteran journalist Datuk A. Kadir Jasin.
But the former top editor of New Straits Times questioned if Pas was serious in defeating BN, after the party’s top leaders ignored PKR’s request for negotiations and announced it would field candidates in both Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar, which go to the polls next month.
“Question is raised whether Pas really wants to fight Umno/BN in Sg Besar and Kuala Kangsar, or it just wants to pretend contesting in order to ensure a victory for Mohd Najib?” he asked in his blog, referring to Umno president and prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Kadir said the series of scandals plaguing Najib alongside economic woes and the ringgit’s decline, have turned Najib into a “sitting duck”, and could see the opposition winning.
“So it’s no surprise that Pas wants to contest again in both seats. It feels it can easily defeat Umno/BN.”
But he said Pas’s decision to contest could also be an attempt to repair its image following its top leadership’s recent statements attacking opposition parties while making friendly overtures to the Najib administration in the name of Malay unity.
Kadir warned the opposition not to dismiss the seizable number of Chinese voters in Sg Besar, saying they would not vote for Pas this time around.
“Let it be reminded that one of the state seats within the Sg Besar constituency is Sekinchan which was won by DAP. Without DAP’s solid support, it is difficult to bring down Umno/BN,” he said.
Top Pas leaders have insisted the party would contest in both by-elections despite the possibility of a multi-cornered fight working in BN’s favour.
The decision has shaken Pas’s fragile relationship with PKR in Selangor.
Pakatan Harapan, the coalition made up of PKR, Amanah and DAP will announce its decision on the Sg Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections tomorrow.
In the 2013 elections, BN’s candidate, the late Datuk Noriah Kasnon defeated PAS’s Mohamed Salleh Husin by a 399-vote majority, far less than the 5,000-vote majority she gained in 2008.
Based on the last general election, Sungai Besar has 42,837 voters, 66% of whom were Malays, 31% Chinese and 2% Indians.