KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — The ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition in Selangor, Penang, and Negri Sembilan is likely to make some concessions to former adversary-turned-ally Barisan Nasional (BN) in the coming state elections expected to be held in the middle of this year.
Citing two unnamed political sources, news portal Free Malaysia Today reported that PKR and DAP are expected to relinquish up some five “safe” seats for BN candidates in Selangor, in order to keep the federal unity government intact.
“DAP and PKR need to do this to ensure Selangor does not fall to Perikatan Nasional (PN).
“This combination is vital for the unity government to stem the green wave that PN is trying to bank on. There are a number of seats currently being held by DAP and PKR that have become Malay-majority following the automatic registration exercise held last year,” a PH insider told the news portal in a report published today.
The news portal reported that International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz is one of the BN candidates expected to be fielded in a “safe” seat for the Selangor polls.
Tengku Zafrul is also Selangor BN treasurer who had run against Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad in the Kuala Selangor parliamentary seat during the 15th general election last November and lost but remained a minister as he is still a senator.
The news portal reported four Malay-majority seats with a high number of Chinese voters as being potential constituencies that will see PH make way for BN. They are: Sungai Pelek, Kota Kemuning, Dusun Tua, and Dengkil.
The unnamed source told the news portal that PKR is also expected to let Umno contest in seats which it lost to Perikatan Nasional (PN) lynchpin Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) in the 2018 state election.
The source added that Umno stands to be the biggest beneficiary as PH is well aware that the party must be strengthened in all the states to ensure the unity government remains strong though BN component parties MIC and MCA may also benefit from the move by getting one or two seats.
Another unnamed source told the news portal that the “sacrifice” is in response to BN’s move in Melaka last month to make way for PKR and DAP representatives in the state executive council, which underwent a reshuffle following the change in chief ministers with Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Yusoh replacing Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali.
“This is a prelude to what we can expect in the Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Penang state elections. Some of the seats that PKR and DAP will give up may not go down well with certain sections of their support base.
“However, the parties are willing to go down to the grassroots to explain the importance of Malaysia continuing with the unity government at all levels,” the second source was quoted as saying.
At present, PH controls 40 out of 55 seats in the Selangor state assembly.
The seats are held by PKR who have 19, followed by DAP with 15 and Amanah with six.
The remainder of the state assembly is made up of representatives from BN and PN with five each, Pejuang and Parti Bangsa Malaysia with two each and Parti Warisan Negara with a single seat.
Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan, which are controlled by PH.
Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu, governed by PAS, which is a PN component, are expected to have their state elections around July, near the end of their five-year mandate.