Lee Hwa Beng
The coming 13th general election will be interesting as nobody can say for sure which coalition will win Putrajaya. However, one thing that we can all agree on is that Barisan Nasional (BN) can no longer win a two-thirds majority and whoever wins, the margin of victory will be narrow.
Many analysts have been making forecasts recently but (in my humble opinion), most of these articles are political spin to make their paymasters look good.
As a disclaimer, I have no agenda in providing the below. I have drafted a list of what I think are thought-provoking questions for the astute reader to use in order to come to an informed conclusion on whether Pakatan Rakyat (PR) can improve their GE12 performance.
In my analysis, I have relied on the results of the last elections (see table) and sparingly highlighted the results of the by-elections, crossovers and those MPs who have become independents since GE12.
In the last elections, BN won 140 seats and Pakatan 82 seats in Parliament. In Peninsular Malaysia, BN won narrowly with 85 seats to Pakatan’s 80 seats. However, in east Malaysia, Pakatan won only two seats, one each in Sabah and Sarawak, while the rest of the parliamentary seats were won by BN.
Since then, PAS wrested the Kuala Terengganu seat from Umno in a by-election; MIC wrested the Hulu Selangor seat from PKR; six MPs from PKR and one MP from PAS have resigned; one joined KITA and six became BN-friendly independents.
The DAP has wrested an additional seat from SUPP in the Sibu by-election; two SAPP MPs have left BN to become independents; one MP from Umno and one from UPKO in Sabah have resigned and become Pakatan-friendly independents.
Before you attempt to predict which coalition will win GE13, you should answer the following questions:
1) Peninsular Malaysia (BN 85: PR 80)
Is the overall anti-BN sentiment expressed in 2008 stronger or weaker in 2013? If the anti-BN sentiment is worse now among the Chinese, will the MCA and Gerakan be able to retain their existing 17 seats (MCA 15, Gerakan 2)? Will the Indian voters return to BN when most people agreed in the last election 60 per cent of them voted for Pakatan?
Will PAS be able to wrench away some of the 65 Umno seats in Peninsular Malaysia and improve on the 23 seats that it won in GE12? Quite a number of these seats were won marginally by either Umno or PAS.
Will Pakatan be able to retain the seats of their seven MPs (Gobalakrishnan-Padang Serai/Kedah; Zulkilfi Noordin-Kulim/Kedah; Tan Tee Beng-Nibong Tebal/Penang; Zahrain Hashim-Bayan Baru/Penang; Mohd Fadzil-BaganSerai/Perak; Wee Choo Keong-Wangsa Maju/KL and Ibrahim Ali-Pasir Mas/Kelantan) who have resigned from Pakatan and become BN friendly?
2) Sarawak (BN 30: PR/DAP 1)
During the 2011 state elections (where there were no parliamentary elections), many were surprised when the DAP won 12 state seats and PKR three state seats. If we use the results of the state elections to extrapolate on the potential result of parliamentary elections, the DAP would win six Parliament seats.
It is noteworthy that the DAP was able to win the Sibu by-election in addition to the Kuching seat it won in 2008. In a nutshell, the Chinese voted overwhelmingly for the DAP during the 2011 state elections.
Will the DAP be able to hold on to its Chinese support and increase its indigenous support to add more seats?
Will PKR and the DAP be able to win a couple of seats in the parliamentary constituencies that are composed of “mixed” seats with Chinese and native support especially the 15 seats now held by SUPP (5), SPDP (4) and PRS (6). Whatever the case, most pundits predict a range of 6-10 seats for Pakatan Rakyat in Sarawak.
3) Sabah (BN 25: PR/DAP 1) (Labuan as part of Sabah)
Since the last election in 2008 (GE12), the SAPP with two MPs has left BN and become independent. An Umno MP and an UPKO MP have also resigned from their parties and have aligned themselves to Pakatan.
Will Pakatan be able to negotiate and ultimately, co-operate with Jeffrey Kittingan’s STAR and Yong Teck Lee’s SAPP in order to ensure a direct, one-to-one fight in all the state and parliamentary seats?
Will the on-going Lahad Datu conflict have any effect on the Muslim voters in Sabah, especially among the Suluk voters?
If you are able to answer the questions above, there you have it, you have just come to your own conclusion of who will win the next GE13.
Remember a coalition needs a minimum of 112 seats to form the government out of the total of 222 seats. The current standing is BN with 142 MPs (135 plus seven BN-friendly independents), Pakatan with 77 MPs (75 plus two Pakatan-friendly Independents), SAPP two MPs and one vacancy due to the death of the PAS MP in Titiwangsa where no by-election has been held.
* Datuk Lee Hwa Beng is the former MCA state assemblyman for Subang Jaya (three terms from 1995-2008). Stood as the BN candidate for the Kelana Jaya parliamentary seat in 2008 and lost. Appointed Port Klang Authority chairman to investigate the PKFZ scandal from 2008 to 2011 and the author of “PKFZ: A Nation’s Trust Betrayed.”