KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 ― After almost three decades of governing Kelantan, PAS may be voted out in the next general elections due to poor economic conditions in the state, a report said.
Singapore daily, the Straits Times (ST) noted that though the state capital Kota Baru enjoys good business, much of rural Kelantan, where agriculture is the mainstay, remains neglected. It quoted residents who said much of the rural local economy is propped up by remittances from Kelantanese working in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
“It used to be different here and we looked down on the other (states),” chicken supplier Mohd Sakri Husain, who lives in Renok Baru located 180km from Kota Baru, told ST.
“Now our economy is weak and young people have to leave Kelantan to look for work.”
ST reported estimates from polling houses that said at least 15 per cent of Kelantan voters are workers based outside the state.
Aside from abandoned wooden houses on stilts along Kelantan’s main trunk road and vacant new shop lots, ST reported that some infrastructure have yet to be rebuilt after the state’s worst floods in history in 2014 and many residents who lost their homes have yet to receive any assistance from the state government.
“I do not care very much about politics because I have to put food on the table. But I know which party I would not vote for,” restaurant helper Rozilawati Ibrahim told ST.
Tumpat MP Datuk Kamarudin Jaafar reportedly expressed concerns about three-cornered fights in Kelantan and also the rest of the country.
“Unless the Opposition can come to some agreement on seat-sharing and avoid three-cornered fights, PAS will likely lose Kelantan and the Opposition could face trouble in the rest of the country,” the PKR leader was quoted saying.
The newspaper noted that even though PAS currently dominates the state legislative assembly by controlling 31 of the 45 seats, more than half of the 45 seats were won by narrow majorities in the 13th general elections that had seen straight fights between Umno and the federal Opposition.
Federal Opposition pact Pakatan Harapan (PH) comprises PKR, DAP and PAS offshoot Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah), but it is still unclear if PH will work out some electoral deals with PAS in the 14th general elections due by August 2018.
ST also reported that based on voter sentiment, the upcoming elections in Kelantan would likely be a battle between PAS and Umno. Analysts reportedly said Amanah could instead end up splitting the Opposition vote.