KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 — Lim Kit Siang offered today a different view of how the opposition would have fared in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar if the battles had been fought one-to-one between PAS and Barisan Nasional (BN): The ruling pact would have won with much larger vote margins.
According to the DAP veteran, PAS vice-president Idris Ahmad was wrong to suggest that straight fights would have helped the opposition maximise its chances in the two seats.
Instead, Lim said many supporters of Pakatan Harapan would have fled to BN’s fold, preferring the ruling pact over PAS and its policies.
“It is therefore fortunate that the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections were not straight one-to-one fights between BN and PAS, for far from ‘maximising victories for the opposition’, BN would have won by an unprecedented humongous majorities of over 16,000 in Sungai Besar and over 11,000 in Kuala Kangsar,” he said in a statement.
Last Saturday, BN went home victors from the two by-elections, beating PAS and Pakatan Harapan’s Amanah by 9,191 votes in Sungai Besar and 6,969 votes in Kuala Kangsar.
In Sungai Besar, Amanah took second place with 707 votes ahead of PAS while it was the reverse in Kuala Kangsar, with the latter beating the former by 801 votes.
Yesterday, Lim in a statement said the outcome of the polls has sparked renewed discussions on how to avoid three-cornered fights in the next general election.
He suggested that the opposition revisit a previous proposal for PAS to concentrate only on seats in Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis, while allowing Amanah to focus on other states.
But Idris in his remarks to Malaysiakini today, called the suggestion “illogical”, also telling Lim that if this were the case, then DAP should only focus on winning seats in Penang, where its influence is strongest.
The Bukit Gantang MP also repeated his party’s assertion that PAS should be allowed to field candidates in all the seats it previously contested, and that there would have been no issues in the first place if the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar polls been straight fights with BN.
But Lim insisted that PAS’s straight fight formula would not be the “magic potion” needed to defeat BN in the next federal polls, not especially after the way in which the Islamist party had split from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) last year and not unless the opposition can once again agree on a common policy framework.
PR broke up last year after PAS resolved in its annual muktamar to sever ties with the DAP following the two parties’ fallout over hudud.
Pakatan Harapan was later formed without PAS although the Islamist party has maintained ties with PKR in Selangor.