PETALING JAYA, Feb 1 — Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) will face obstacles in leading Pakatan Harapan’s election vanguard due to poor support among women and rural Malay voters’ distrust for ally DAP.
In an opinion piece published by The Straits Times, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute visiting senior fellow Wan Saiful Wan Jan the lack of traction among women voters was notable as the group makes up half of the electorate.
“A survey conducted in Johor last year by the institute revealed only 17 per cent of female voters saying they favour PPBM, whereas 44 per cent rejected the party outright while 39 per cent were unsure,” he said.
The same survey, conducted among Malay voters whom PPBM is vying for with Umno, also found out 85 per cent of Malays in Johor disapproved of DAP, the dominant partner in the Opposition pact.
Wan Saiful said he encountered this firsthand during his visit in Johor and across the peninsula.
“The tendency among Malay voters is to associate DAP’s rise with the rising political clout of the Malaysian Chinese, and by extension, the erosion of Malay political power.
“Thus voting for any party that helps the DAP get into government is tantamount to jeopardising the Malays’ special position,” Wan Saiful said.
However, Wan Saiful said PPBM has been expanding quickly since its establishment last January, noting its coverage was now 80 per cent of its target constituencies or 137 divisions out of the 165 parliamentary seats, which he described as “no mean feat”.
He also highlighted Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s continued draw among some voter segments, saying his interviews with younger PPBM members showed that many cited the former prime minister as the reason for their support.
“The route towards winning Putrajaya is paved with many challenges, even for the master politician. None of the polls is siding with Dr Mahathir at the moment. This will be an uphill battle for him,
“But, typical of Dr Mahathir, one can expect that he will put up a brave fight and give it all that he has,” he said.