Shunned By Umno Bersatu S Survival Now Rests With Pas Say Analysts
Umno’s decision to withdraw its support for the coalition led by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia will pull large swathes of the Malay vote away from the splinter group to deal a blow powerful enough to decimate the young party at the next general election, analysts said.
(MMO) – Bersatu was founded with the initial aim of breaking Umno’s grip on rural and conservative Malay votes but has seen marginal success.
Since its formation, the party has made little progress to counter Umno’s clout, having to contend with a smaller supporter base of mostly disgruntled former members of its sister party with no grassroots support.
Umno and PAS on the other hand amassed up to 70 per cent of the Malay vote at the 2018 general election, with the former enjoying the lion’s share. Hawkish Umno leaders have used this to pressure Bersatu into giving way.
Oh Ei Sun, a fellow at the Singapore International Institute of Foreign Affairs, said the numbers are testament to the parties’ clout among rural and conservative Malays.
Voting data throughout the years suggest this is an electorate that often votes along partisan lines, and has stayed consistently with either Umno or PAS.
“I think for most conservative Malays — who make up the bulk of the overall voters — the fallback party is still unequivocally Umno, followed closely by PAS,” the analyst said.
“This was testified in the 2018 general election, where Umno and PAS garnered more than 75 per cent of Malay votes. The progressive Malays — who are decidedly fewer in number — would likely go for Pakatan Harapan (PH),” he added.
The rest consists of urban moderates and liberals, most inclined towards PH. While just 30 per cent, their votes helped the multiracial pact achieve a landmark victory and ended Barisan Nasional’s (BN) six-decade long monopoly on power.
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