GE15: Maszlee's winding road and Hasni's advantage

17 Nov 2022 03:18pm
SHAH ALAM - To analyse the chances of candidates contesting in hot seats throughout the 15th General Election (GE15), Sinar Premium is using a card scoring system to evaluate their performances, popularity and their chances to win.

The card scoring system is based on the method of evaluating the five important factors found in the candidate and the party they represent such as the candidate's image and popularity, strength of the party in an area, the candidate's influence in the party, the area's manifesto and the candidate's chance of winning.

Each criteria of evaluation was measured from a rating of one to five stars that represented normal to outstanding.

The Simpang Renggam seat in Johor had come into public focus post GE14 as the incumbent from Pakatan Harapan (PH) Dr Maszlee Malik at the time had been appointed as the Education Minister.

He had a clear vision in formulating the direction of the country's national education, however

Maszlee's service with Bersatu at that time abruptly ended at the end of 2019 following his decision to resign as a minister.

For GE15 he enthusiastically returned as a Parti Kadilan Rakyat (PKR) candidate under the Pakatan Harapan coalition however, Maszlee's path to retain the seat is filled with twists and turns.

This time around Maszlee will lock horns with BN candidate, former Johor menteri besar Datuk Seri Hasni Mohammad, Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) Mohd Fazrul Kamat and Gabungan Tanah Air’s Kamal Kusmin in a four cornered fight.

The same factors are also being used by Ilham Centre Executive Director, Hishommudin Bakar to analyse a candidates score card.
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Image and popularity.

From this standpoint, Maszlee who had served as a minister in the federal administration and

Hasni who is the former Johor Menteri Besar both have the advantage of being well known by the people of Simpang Renggam compared to other candidates.

Other than serving as an as education minister for 14 months, Maszlee was also elected as the President of Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia (UIAM) in September 2018.

As for Hasni, his success in leading BN Johor to win big in the March state elections gave a positive boost to his image in Simpang Renggam

The party's strength in the area.

Evaluating the Party's strength in Simpang Renggam, the seat was actually a stronghold of the Barisan Nasional coalition through Gerakan since it became a parliamentary constituency in 2004.

However, when Gerakan decided to leave the coalition to join PN post GE14, the seat became a up for grabs between Umno and MCA.

When two state assembly seats under the constituency - namely Layang Layang and Machap was captured by Umno candidates in the state elections it ensured that the seat would be in Umno's grasp in GE15.

For PH, Maszlee's success when he won the seat with a comfortable majority in GE14 were grounds for the coalition to maintain it. But when Maszlee loss Layang-Layang in the state election those were the signs PH's influence was waning.

For PN, the presence of the Gerakan machinery helping Fazrul could not be taken lightly, while Putra's strength was still vague.

Influence in the party.

Hasni's influence in BN could not be denied and has grown stronger. Hasni is the representation of a Johor political figure that was well respected not only among party members, but also by Johoreans.

As for Maszlee his ability to obtain the highest support from PKR members and later his appointment as a PKR Central Leadership Council (MPP) member in the party elections in May has proven that he has a large influence in the party.

With his experience as an Education Minister, Maszlee was often considered to be the

the best candidate to return to that position should PH prove successful in capturing Putrajaya.

The manifesto offered in the area.

As the incumbent of Simpang Renggam Maszlee is pushing the agenda of creating an education hub in the constituency if he is appointed again as an MP.

He has high hopes of seeing constituents in Simpang Renggam embrace higher education. He also hopes to develop a university or at least a polytechnic in the area.

Hasni is seen as being the more realistic candidate, saying that he prefers to not promise the moon and the stars to the constituents, he however has stressed that his experience as former menteri besar as well as an opposition chief in the state will be able to aid him in how best to develop the constituency.

Meanwhile PN's candidate Fazrul is banking on the issue of improving the constituencies youth's education skills

Chances to win GE15.

An additional 15,035 registered youth voters here could be the driving factor to win for any candidate in Simpang Renggam.

The latest demographics for the constituency has also seen a spike in the percentage of Malay voters, the scales could favourably tip to Hasni this time which could be a surprise upset for Maszlee.

However, if youth voters are high and turn up in droves PH's campaign could sway youth voters to support the coalition and Maszlee may be able to maintain the seat with a thin majority.

However there is a possibility that PN could end PH and BN's domination of the seat should they manage to capture the tsunami of Malay votes.