Small parties must join established coalitions to survive, say analysts

Ravin Palanisamy

Sabah party Warisan has failed in its attempt to become regional, winning only three of the 51 seats it contested in the general election. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, November 30, 2022.

SMALL political parties that fared poorly in the general election should consider joining a coalition if they want a future, experts said. 

Analysts said Parti Warisan, Muda, Parti Bangsa Malaysia (PBM) and Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Masyarakat (KDM) must do this for their long-term survival. In the case of Sabah parties, they must do this if they wish to become regional. 

Twenty parties and 108 independents stood for 222 parliamentary and 117 state seats in the elections. 

PAS was the biggest winner, amassing 43 parliamentary seats, followed by DAP (40), PKR (31), Umno (26), Bersatu (30), Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (14), Amanah (8), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (5), Sabah Bersatu (4), Warisan (3), UPKO, MCA, Sarawak United Peoples’ Party, Progressive Democratic Party (2 each). 

Muda, MIC, PBM, KDM, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS), United Sabah Party (PBS), Sabah Star and two independent candidates each won one parliamentary seat. 

Coalitions Pakatan Harapan (PH) won 82 seats, Perikatan Nasional (73), Barisan Nasional (30), Gabungan Parti Sarawak (23), Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (6).

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has formed a unity government with the inclusion of BN and GPS. 

The PKR president is also backed by GRS, KDM and PBM.

International Islamic University Malaysia’s Tunku Mohar Tunku Mokhtar said the small parties who lost in GE15 should be dissolved.

These include Pejuang, Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM), Part Sedar Rakyat Sarawak (Sedar), Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK), and Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah (PPRS)

Youth party Muda has one federal seat which it won on the Pakatan Harapan ticket. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, November 30, 2022.

Tunku Mohar said smaller parties such as Muda, which had picked up seats, also needed to be part of an established coalition to move forward. 

“Muda needs to be in a coalition. Its electoral pact in GE15 would serve as probation for inclusion in PH. 

“Its future depends on it being in an established coalition, and PH seems to be the coalition it can most identify with,” he told The Malaysian Insight. 

Muda made its federal election debut in a pact with PH. It stood in six parliamentary seats, including Muar, which was retained by the incumbent and party president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman. It lost all the others.

Analyst Mazlan Ali of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia said Muda should be given a chance to prove itself in the next general election. 

Despite the introduction of an influx of young voters, Mazlan said that the youth-centred party was not able to gain the support of the youngsters. 

“Muda is still a new party. It is clear that the youth-orientated party was not able to attract young voters. They were more drawn to Perikatan Nasional,” the academic said. 

Senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, Oh Ei Sun said Muda was popular in the cities but could not penetrate the rural areas. 

He said Muda was not able to demonstrate its strength because PH did not allot the party urban seats. 

“Rural voters preferred PAS and PN,” he said. 

Pejuang is among the parties that should fold after losing  which badly in the general election, say analysts. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, November 30, 2022.


Tunku Mohar said Warisan, which won only three seats, had lost its appeal as a consequence of its decision to become a national party. 

“Its decision to become a national party diluted its focus on Sabah. It should re-focus its activities on Sabah,” he said. 

Formerly a Sabah-based party, Warisan decided to branch outside its native state to become a national party late last year. 

Warisan ran for 25 parliamentary seats in Sabah, 25 more on the peninsula and one in Labuan.

It won three – Kota Belud, Semporna and Lahat Datu. 

Mazlan agreed with Tunku Mohar. 

“Warisan is now facing performance issues. I think the party’s biggest mistake is not focusing on the state of Sabah. 

“Warisan is actually a local party and it is not accepted on the peninsula. Warisan should return its focus to Sabah,” said Mazlan.

Mazlan said PBM is not a national party. Its member Zuraida Kamaruddin lost in Ampang.

As for PBM president Larry Sgn’s win in Julau, Mazlan said the fledgling party might have a future in Sarawak but not in West Malaysia. 

“PBM is not accepted on the peninsula. Senior politicians such as Zuraida lost badly in Ampang,” he said. 

Oh said smaller parties will survive as long as they are in the federal government. 

“I see Warisan, PBM, KDM now backing the government of the day. That would probably keep them alive for some time but the others are likely to fizzle out,” Oh said. 

Another party that saw heavy defeat in GE15 was Pejuang, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s party. 

Analysts have called for the party to be dissolved. – November 30, 2022.

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