KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 30 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad cannot surmount other obstacles on Pakatan Harapan's (PH) road to power, the Financial Times (FT) concluded in a report published yesterday.
According to the Financial Times Confidential Report on the outlook for the Opposition pact's bid for federal power, the outlet said the informal coalition was too exposed on several fronts and Dr Mahathir's draw was inadequate to address these.
“First, PAS is determined to stand in seats it previously did not contest despite having little chance of winning, thus potentially splitting the opposition vote.
“Second, PH is weak in Borneo, where about a quarter of seats are located. Without a serious breakthrough there, PH would need to win about two-thirds of peninsular seats to control parliament, which is a difficult task,” read the report authored by senior FT researcher Hafiz Noor Shams.
The report noted that PH's predecessor, Pakatan Rakyat, only won 47 per cent of federal seats in the peninsula, or just 39 per cent once PAS is excluded.
A proposed redelineation conducted by the Election Commission could also tip things further in the ruling Barisan Nasional's (BN) favour.
The effort was delayed by repeated court challenges last year, but the commission has been allowed to resume the exercise and appears on track to complete it in time for a presentation to Parliament in March.
“In 2013, BN won 60 per cent of seats with only 47 per cent of the popular vote. We believe this latest example of gerrymandering in Malaysia will benefit BN.”
The FT report also concluded that Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak's position was now secure as the party resolved to delay its internal polls at the end of last year.
PH announced Dr Mahathir as its candidate to be prime minister following unrelenting pressure for it to identify the politician who would assume the post in the event of the unprecedented victory.
BN in current and past forms has ruled the country since Independence, often with commanding majorities in Parliament.
The 14th general election must be called by June 24th, but the prime minister may declare one any time before that.