Dr Mahathir and Hadi Awang working together not an issue to east coast voters - analysts

07 Jun 2023 08:57pm
Dr Mahathir during the Malay Proclamation closed round table meeting with  Pas president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang and Tan Sri Annuar Musa - FILEPIC
Dr Mahathir during the Malay Proclamation closed round table meeting with Pas president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang and Tan Sri Annuar Musa - FILEPIC

SHAH ALAM - Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang uniting together during the state elections campaign would not be an issue, analysts said.

Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) senior lecturer of political science Mujibu Abd Muis said both are political giants with significant impact on Malay voters.

“However, it will be harder for Dr Mahathir to make his political comeback with what happened in the last 15th general election (GE15).

Mujibu said Dr Mahathir needs Pas to strengthen the Malay Proclamation and add weight to it,especially after the Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) disaster.

“The voters on the east coast will accept Dr Mahathir since the Malay loyalty is there, also the loyalty to Pas,hence accepting Dr Mahathir and Hadi would not be an issue

“However, the situation in Selangor on the other hand is different and overall I don’t see the combination as good enough to lure them to vote for Dr Mahathir and Hadi as there are other factors that may be good enough to be considered,” he said.

International Islamic University Malaysia associate professor of political science Dr Syaza Shukri said Malaysian voters have short-term memory, especially the new voters who were automatically registered and are less politically active.

She added the older generation would remember how they were back then and old voters are often set in their political preference.

I think the typical Malay voter would not find it too difficult to accept the two of them working together and I say that because the narrative now has changed to “protecting Malay rights” at any cost.

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“I don’t think Dr Mahathir has a lot of following anymore, hence it is more about how PAS supporters can accept him,” she said.

“However, they both have shown willingness to put aside their differences in public and I think it is not going to be bad and the possible conflict is perhaps also less obvious given that Dr Mahathir understands he needs PN more than PN needs him,” she said.

Political Analyst Dr Oh Ei Sun said the political landscape nowadays is very fragmented.

“As it certainly does not detract from their respective political attractiveness, as they have their respective cohorts of diehard supporters who are religious for Hadi and the racialist for Dr Mahathir, who could perhaps reinforce each other for a religion-racialist narrative,” he said.

He expressed it likely would have positive consequences as it would not affect the east coast voters undying support for Pas as there are significant pockets which are increasingly regressive despite rapid urbanization and for them, a more religious-racialist narrative could be attractive.