Pundits foresee Muda wipeout if it goes solo in polls

Ravin Palanisamy

Ilham Centre executive director Hisommudin Bakar says Muda’s decision to become the third force is not a wise move as it lacks support. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, September 15, 2023.

MUDA is at risk of being wiped out if it goes into the next general election without joining a coalition, political pundits said.

This, they said, was because the youth-based party lacked support, even among young voters.

They felt that Muda’s only chance of survival in the current political climate of a multiracial coalition versus a Malay-Muslim-based pact was to join either one of them.

Ilham Centre executive director Hisommudin Bakar said after burning bridges with Pakatan Harapan (PH), the Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman-led party could save its skin by joining Perikatan Nasional (PN).

“Trying to be the third force is not a wise decision. The choice that is available now is to join PN,” he told The Malaysian Insight.

“This is because Muda is unable to prove it has a significant vote base. Even those from Undi18 that Syed Saddiq fought for, have turned against the party.

“Muda now has to prove which segment of voters can be its vote bank.

“If there are no certain voter segments and suitable constituencies, it will be difficult for Muda to compete with the main parties in the next general election.”

Last week, Muar lawmaker Syed Saddiq declared that Muda will become the third force in Malaysian politics.

Following Muda’s decision to leave the government bloc in parliament, the support for the Anwar Ibrahim administration is reduced to 147 MPs while the opposition’s figure is increased to 75. A minimum of 148 MPs is required for a two-thirds majority in the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat.

Despite retracting support, Syed Saddiq stressed his commitment towards backing government-proposed laws in parliament if those bills are “progressive” and intended for reforms.

He also distanced the party from the Muhyiddin Yassin-led PN.

Hisommudin said Muda’s true strength, or lack of it, was clearly seen in last month’s six state elections when it went solo.

“Most of its candidates lost their deposits, just like the Independent candidates,” he said.

Hisommudin also said the battle for the Larkin seat in the Johor polls last year proved that Muda would succumb when it clashes with coalitions.

Muda contested the Larkin seat despite having a political understanding with PH.

In the six-cornered fight, Muda garnered 4,948 votes, and finished fourth behind Barisan Nasional, PN and PH.

Hisommudin said the party could lose the two seats it currently has – the Muar parliamentary seat and the Puteri Wangsa state seat, both in Johor – in the next general election.

Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs says Muda should disband and be absorbed by one of the larger reformist camps. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, September 15, 2023.

Not the choice

University of Tasmania’s professor of Asian Studies James Chin also agreed that Muda might be wiped out in the next general election.

He said Muda might not be the choice of the voters if the current voting trend continued.

“If the current trend continues, where the Malay votes are highly polarised, then the majority of the Malay voters will prefer PAS/PN, while the non-Malays will go for DAP/PH,” he said.

Chin said Muda would need to partner or be in a coalition to succeed.

“The only hope is, (for Muda) to come to some sort of understanding,” he said.

“It still needs to be in a coalition or have a pact with a coalition. If not, it will be wiped out.”

Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs said Muda is just splitting the disgruntled PH votes.

He said Muda should just disband altogether.

“It is splitting the already thin support base for the progressive political forces,” he said.

“It should disband and be absorbed by one of the larger reformist camps.” – September 15, 2023.

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