KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 1 — The recent crossover of several Amanah leaders to PKR is a clear indication of the Muslim progressive party's overall weak position within the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition which spells out a possible crisis of leadership, political analysts said.
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia geostrategist Prof Azmi Hassan pointed out that Amanah was given a generous seat allocation in the 14th general election by DAP and PKR.
Azmi said given the current situation, Amanah could be in “real danger” of being allocated a smaller seat allocation running up to the coming 15th general election (GE15) if it remains with the PH coalition.
“They are too dependent on DAP and PKR and I think come GE15, most of the seats will go to DAP and PKR and not Amanah.
“I think the representative from Amanah ... it's not that they abandoned the party but they joined another ally which is PKR as it will gather more lucrative seats in the coming GE15.
“The crossover although within the same consortium despite differing parties just demonstrates how weak Amanah is currently. They only got lucrative seat allocations in GE14 because DAP and PKR allowed it but I don’t think this will be the situation in GE15. DAP and PKR will try to get most of the seats for their own representatives,’’ he said.
Azmi said despite PH’s supposed projection that all of its component parties are equal in decision making, the fact is that PKR and DAP remain the key decision-makers.
“So this shows within Pakatan, PKR and DAP will call the shots and looking at the current political decision, Amanah will accept the decision made by the DAP and PKR even though it will try to portray that these three parties have an equal voice. But in reality, Amanah lacks real grassroots support. They don’t have that.
"So, the latest crossovers of representatives from Amanah to PKR means Amanah is in real danger of getting lesser seats in GE15, if they remain in Pakatan,’’ he said, not discounting the fact that there could be more crossovers from Amanah representatives to other parties.
Senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs Oh Ei Sun said it won't come as a surprise if more Amanah representatives join other political parties, including the Perikatan Nasional coalition.
He said this can happen if party leaders fail to effectively present and press the party’s Muslim progressive narrative.
“It is no secret that Amanah has a rather weak national leadership which is unable to effectively articulate its brand of progressive political Islam. And as long as they remain so, they should not be surprised to see some of their members leaving for greener pastures, perhaps even across the grand political divide," he said.
Last week, three Johor Amanah assemblymen Amanah joined PKR over alleged dissatisfaction with their former party’s state leadership.
The trio include Senggarang assemblyman Khairuddin A. Rahim, Muhamad Said Jonit (Mahkota) and Faizul Amri Adnan (Serom).
Khairuddin had said that their change of parties was kept low-key to prevent any misunderstanding between the two sides.
Political analyst Kartini Aboo Talib Khalid agreed and said the crossover is a clear indication of Amanah's weakened position ahead of the coming general election.
“I think the real reason is money and human resources. To face a general election, you have to be strong in resources [capital, human being to prepare for all the groundwork].
“It is not about lack of leadership but insufficient resources to wheel the existentialism of the party itself. Amanah is a splinter party, floating with no root to stay put and no strong foundation to beat PAS,’’ he said.
However, the crossover will surely strengthen PKR, said Kartini.
“Amanah represents the Malays; if they decided to join PKR to strengthen the party for the sake of the Malays vote, they could do that. I don't see the reason for not doing that,’’ she said.
Commenting further, Oh said that moving forward, PH should look into creating an anti-party hopping law within its own coalition, as practiced by Barisan Nasional.
“It’s surprising that Pakatan component parties do not have some sort of anti-mutual-frogging pact in place, as Barisan does. In any case, it also appears that neither Amanah nor PKR would like to make a big deal out of this, but prefer instead to sweep the matter under the carpet at least for the time being.
“Come next general election, Amanah would of course demand to contest at least the same number of seats, PKR would morally have to concede to that.
“In the next GE, it may actually be politically wise for PKR to change some of its own progressive-looking candidates in more conservative constituencies in favor of these newly joined reps, as the latter would perhaps present a more conservative outlook, having previously come from a religious party. But that would of course in turn trigger another round of power struggle in Johor PKR,’’ added Oh.
Last year, two Selangor assemblypersons from Amanah — Mohd Fakhrulrazi Mohd Mokhtar (Meru) and Ahmad Mustain Othman (Sabak) — also joined PKR.