Kuala Lumpur- No sooner had the results of the local elections in the Malaysian state of Malacca been announced last Saturday than the leaders of the United Malays National Organization (AMNO) began to threaten early general elections.
Meanwhile, the deputy head of the Amnu party, Muhammad Hassan, took the initiative to call on the government to ignore the cooperation agreement with the opposition, which guarantees the stability of the government, and is supposed to expire in July next year.
Hassan said, in press statements, that he had spoken with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri in this regard, and indicated that the popular sympathy that the National Front coalition had obtained makes the time appropriate to hold the elections for the central parliament.
The FLN has ruled Malaysia, led by the UMNO party, for more than 6 decades, and is currently participating in power.
Malay parties dominate the composition of the central government, which is the third government since the May 2018 elections, and is an extension of the government of Muhyiddin Yassin, who resigned last August.
The former Malaysian Foreign Minister Hamid Albar believes that the overwhelming victory of the National Front coalition would shorten the life of the central government, especially with the existence of major cracks between its main pillars: the Amnu Party, to which the Prime Minister belongs, and the Bersato (Unity of the Earth) party led by the Prime Minister. Former Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).
Al-Bar attributes the National Front’s victory in the local elections in Malacca with a two-thirds majority (21 out of 28 seats) to the superiority of its electoral campaign over other parties, and its recruitment of an electronic army through social media.
As well as direct individual communication with voters in the absence of collective election campaigns due to the Corona measures.
In Al-Bar’s opinion, the exaggerated means enabled the security activists to exaggerate the danger of the Democratic Action Party, which is dominated by ethnic Chinese.
And the former foreign minister adds – to Al Jazeera Net – that the experience of the “Alliance of Hope” government after the 2018 elections reinforced the fears of the Malays, adding that “the Chinese and Indians’ empowerment of state institutions raised the fears of the Malays, which Amno exploited greatly, and it appeared as if he was choosing the Malay voter between maintaining The homeland and religion must be with him, or they will be lost by choosing the Democratic Action Party.”
This is what Al-Bar confirms by saying that the concept of political stability for the Malays is that the power is in their hands with the cooperation and participation of other ethnicities.
Desire for political stability
Observers support Al-Bar’s statement that the desire for political stability was a major factor in the momentum gained by Amno and the National Front.
Jamaluddin Shams Allen, a social figure who heads a non-governmental organization, says that voters preferred a return to political stability over trying politicians for their past, especially since Malaysia has not witnessed stability since the overthrow of the National Front government in the last general elections.
Many attribute the loss of Persato’s party, despite being in power, to a popular rejection of MPs who switch allegiance after their election. Most of Persatu’s representatives in parliament were elected on the Amnu list in the previous elections.
ruling coalition options
The results of the Malacca elections put the central government in front of a new reality, which is the exclusivity of one party in the state government, while the “National Contract” coalition, led by the Persato Party, obtained only two members in the local legislature.
After the party presented itself as leading the ruling coalition, its leader, Muhyiddin Yassin, quickly rejected the idea of dissolving it and joining the AMNO, in an attempt to preserve the cohesion of the government.
Al-Bar believes that the Islamic Party (PAS) made a big mistake by trying to be an alternative to the Persatu and Amnu parties, and it caused great doubts about the sincerity of the understanding agreement it signed with Amnu two years ago, by getting too close to Persatu when he came to power.
Those close to the government believe that its choice, for now, is to maintain its cohesion, while it is believed that the time will not be long until the dispute over the distribution of candidates to the electoral districts in the upcoming elections begins, which may precipitate its collapse.
The fate of political icons
Meanwhile, voices were calling for the resignation of Anwar Ibrahim from the opposition leadership in Parliament after the “poor performance in the Malacca elections”, but the leader of the Democratic Action Party Zaid Ibrahim called on the opposition leaders to search for an alternative to its leadership before demanding the resignation of its leader.
The opposition “Alliance of Hope” is composed of 3 parties: People’s Justice led by Anwar Ibrahim, the National Secretariat led by former Defense Minister Mohamed Sabo, and Democratic Action.
While there is no alternative to Anwar Ibrahim on the horizon, the call to search for an alternative indicates, in the opinion of observers, a crisis that the opposition is going through.
Political analysts believed that Zahid Hamidi, head of the Amno party, may be the biggest beneficiary of the election results, as his position was strengthened after he showed great stubbornness in the face of two previous governments.
His first statement after his party’s victory was that he would work hard to pass a law that would criminalize switching allegiance of members of Parliament, and prevent them from moving from one party to another after the elections.
As for former Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razzaq, who is being pursued by corruption charges, he has regained his popularity, and observers do not rule out that he will reach a deal with the government that ends judicial rulings against him and stops his prosecution.
Al-Bar believes that the wide campaign, which was directed against Najib Abdul-Razzaq and Zahid Hamidi, had counterproductive effects, so instead of burning him popularly, it aroused the sympathy of the Malays with him.