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Pulverising of PH in Malay belt is alarming, says analyst – Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: Of 44 Pakatan Harapan candidates who lost their deposits in the general election last month, 27 were in the Malay belt states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah.
It should ring alarm bells in the multiracial coalition, according to a political analyst.
Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara said it is a worrying trend when the lead coalition of the unity government was crushed in these states where all PH candidates lost except in Sungai Petani, Kedah.
He said PH chairman Anwar Ibrahim, now prime minister, has his hands full trying to ward off the unprecedented use of race and religion in Malaysian politics, especially when this is the first time a leader of a multiracial party is at the helm.
“Bear in mind that all these candidates were Malays from PKR and Amanah, the two parties that carry the unfortunate stigma of being DAP allies. It is not easy to turn around this wave especially in the three states where the people voted mainly due to religious factors.
“We will be deluding ourselves if we think these votes were in support of Perikatan Nasional as a coalition. No, they voted for PAS and not Bersatu, which is benefiting from this spiritual wave,” he told FMT.

Azmi said another clear pattern in the results was how DAP and PAS became the only individual parties whose candidates did not lose any of their deposits, indicating the deep racial and religious divide in a nation that had at one time thrived on inter-racial harmony.
He said Election Commission records showed that 22 candidates from Barisan Nasional (BN) also lost their deposits while 13 from PN had theirs forfeited. Election candidates forfeit their deposits if they do not obtain at least one-eighth of the votes cast in their contests.
“But what was most telling was all these were non-Muslim candidates from the coalitions belonging to MCA, Gerakan and MIC.”
Azmi said it was crucial for the unity government to prove to Malaysians that this very new concept of government is a workable solution for the country that can get rid of any form of extremism, adding that a lot depended on how Anwar handled sensitive matters in the next few years.
“If the government fails to show that this is the best permutation to move the country forward, the GE15 pattern may be replicated in GE16, if not worse. I hope Anwar can turn the current forces around for a better nation,” he added.
He said the only bright spark in the GE15 results was the performance of DAP’s Malay candidate Syahredzan Johan in Malay-majority Bangi where he polled 141,568 votes, the second highest number garnered in the country.
The highest was by his party colleague Gobind Singh Deo who polled 142,875 votes to win in Damansara.
A total of 367 candidates lost their deposits of RM10,000 each in GE15 amounting to RM3.67 million, a record haul for the EC.
According to EC data, 192 of the 221 seats contested saw at least one candidate losing his or her deposit. The most number of deposits forfeited in a single seat was Batu with eight, followed by Ampang (7), and Kota Raja and Bangi (6 each).
Among the prominent leaders who suffered this fate were former prime minister and Pejuang chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad (Langkawi), his son Mukhriz Mahathir (Pejuang-Jerlun), PBM president designate Zuraida Kamaruddin (Ampang), Putra president Ibrahim Ali (Putra-Rantau Panjang) and former PPP president M Kayveas (Ipoh Barat).
Others included former Amanah vice-president Husam Musa (Pasir Mas), former MCA president Ong Tee Keat (Warisan-Pandan), MIC vice-chairman A Kohilan Pillay (Batu), former DAP and PKR MP Wee Choo Keong (Warisan-Wangsa Maju) and former PKR vice-president Tian Chua (Independent-Batu).
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