COMMENTARY, Nov 11 — Barisan Nasional (BN) is at risk of losing Perlis after it dropped Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim from contesting in Arau.

Shahidan has turned around to contest under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) ticket, becoming a bitter political enemy of BN.

While Umno-led BN feels the coalition is strong enough to face any onslaught from its action, BN leaders in the state may have misread the situation.

PAS, which is in PN, has agreed to allow Shahidan to use its election machinery for his campaign. The party is not a small player in the northern states of Perlis and Kedah.


Before this, the party’s followers and members were not sufficient to win but now with Shahidan leading the charge and combining the pockets of Bersatu followers there, it is not impossible for PN to win Perlis.

BN made a mistake in sidelining him and putting up a first timer to take his place in Arau.

Bersatu-led PN has taken advantage of the situation and offered Shahidan a place. This can further the coalition’s objective of expanding into the Malay-majority state which is considered an Umno bastion.


Bersatu is a Malay-based party and its formation in 2016 was to politically kill Umno and replace it as the only party to champion the Malay cause but it failed to do that.

Today, it is a Malay party competing with Umno to attract Malays as members.

It failed to gain traction in the Melaka and Johor state elections because it has no grassroots support but this general election it sees the opportunity to do that with the support of disgruntled Umno leaders who were dropped from contesting.

Shahidan who was a mentri besar of the state before he was moved to become a federal minister is considered as a “little emperor” as many locals and outsiders equate him with Perlis.

Like it or not Shahidan has the ability to rally voters in Perlis to support PN and despite BN not expressing worry, the coalition is wary that things could turn against them.

BN has to fight tooth and nail now and with just one more week to go, it has to mount an aggressive campaign to make sure the state does not fall.

* This report previously contained an error regarding Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim’s title and has since been corrected.