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What next for Perak?

The Federal Court’s decision on the rightful Mentri Besar of Perak today has affirmed the status quo in the state, but political analysts believe the much-awaited verdict will result in some change in the way political parties carry themselves. Closely-watched will be Pakatan’s next move — whether it will continue to engage in confrontational politics or opt for a more less antagonistic stand. “If they respect the decision, they will become less confrontational. The people will likely give them some sympathy while at the same time, they may also be able to win some support by projecting themselves as the victims,” political analyst Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said.

People were issue-oriented when come to supporting a party, he added. “If Pakatan continues to be confrontational in the state assembly even after today’s decision, it can backfire on them.” “I predict therefore that Pakatan will change their strategy and will adopt a more persuasive tone. I also foresee that both sides will eventually take this approach. The only difference is the kind of voters they are pursuing,” he said. Dr Sivamurugan said he believed the BN would more “persuasive” in tackling the support among urban Chinese while Pakatan would be working more on their declining Malay support.

Another political analyst Datuk Cheah See Kian believed that Pakatan would change their strategy by having PAS play a more prominent role — as the leader of the state’s opposition front, instead of the DAP. “By doing so, it will give the impression among the Malay voters that the Perak opposition pact is very much led by the Malay or PAS, instead of the DAP,” he said. An opinion poll by Merdeka Centre released last week showed that BN under Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir appeared to have made significant inroads while his predecessor from Pakatan, Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, had a significant edge over Zambry when it comes to the Chinese community, where the duo polled 59 per cent and 16 per cent respectively.

But Zambry on the other hand, led the race comfortably in terms of the Malay support, securing 67 per cent as opposed to Nizar’s 35 per cent. For political analyst James Chin, the verdict by the Federal Court today would not bring about much change in the Perak political scenario as according to him, many had expected the outcome. “The political scenario is back as before. Pakatan will continue with their roadshow and the BN will be preparing for the next general election. The question is, what will happen in the next election?” he said.

It would not come as a surprise, therefore, for Pakatan to work on improving their image among the Malays and for BN to work on theirs among the urban Chinese as pointed out by Gerakan deputy president and state chairman Datuk Chang Ko Youn. “While the support of the Malays and Indians for the BN seems to be improving, we really need to go down and correct the negative image of the BN among the urban Chinese. “However, we believe that this is changing as Dr Zambry has done a lot to improve the BN’s image. Dr Zambry has set the direction and we hope we can build on the momentum for the next two years,” he said, adding that the BN was targeting to increase the support among the Chinese from about 20 per cent now to more than 30 per cent. “I expect them (Pakatan) to be a bad loser and create problems in the next state assembly sitting. If this happens, it will show that they are only interested in positions in the government,” he said. — Bernama


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