Early candidate announcement to avoid crisis

24 Jul 2023 01:18pm
Prime Minister and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (seated, second from right) poses for a photo after the announcement of candidates from the party who would be contesting in the state elections -  Thumbnail from left: Dr Kartini, Dr Mazlan
Prime Minister and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (seated, second from right) poses for a photo after the announcement of candidates from the party who would be contesting in the state elections - Thumbnail from left: Dr Kartini, Dr Mazlan

SHAH ALAM - The announcement of poster boy candidates earlier in the three states led by Pakatan Harapan (PH), namely in Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan, by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim could prevent a crisis involving the parties within the coalition ahead of the state election polls on Aug 12.

Senior Lecturer at the Perdana Center, Faculty of Technology and Informatics, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Dr Mazlan Ali said that the early announcement also helped give a surge in people's support to PH and Barisan Nasional (BN), as well as guaranteeing the country's political stability.

According to him, the move to retain and announce the names of all incumbent chief ministers in the three states controlled by PH as poster boys will give the voters the impression that PH-BN's political stability has been achieved.

"Anwar's move to announce the poster boy candidates early is to avoid any public perception in the three states that there is a battle for the candidacy between the parties in PH and BN.

"It gives the impression that the PH-BN coalition has finalised its election strategy, including the distribution of state assembly seats with no further issues," he said.

On Saturday, Anwar, who is also PH Chairman, announced the three names of poster boys who will remain as state leaders if the coalition wins the state elections, namely Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari in Selangor, Chow Kon Yeow (Penang) and Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun (Nine States).

Elaborating on the criteria for a Menteri Besar candidate to be the people's choice, Mazlan believes that voters in mixed and urban areas will evaluate the matter based on the key performance indicators (KPI) of the incumbent in the previous government administration.

"In developed states or cities, KPI is the primary measure that is studied by the community there. If the poster boy has a good track record in the past administration, it will give an advantage to the candidate who is seen to have a clear direction.

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"Therefore, the earlier they announce the candidates for the chief ministerial posts, the easier for the people to decide. The community is also seen as more focused and managed," said Mazlan.

However, it is the opposite for voters in developing states controlled by PAS, who appeared unbothered by the early announcement of PH-BN poster boy candidates.

"This is because the rural communities in states such as Kelantan and Terengganu will tend to choose a party over the candidate or the performance of the incumbent menteri besar," Mazlan said.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Political Analyst Professor Dr Kartini Aboo Talib @ Khalid said that although many predicted that PN would sweep Terengganu's 32 state assembly seats, the chance of PH-BN seizing the state was still "50-50".

"In the three Malay-Belt states, namely Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, the announcement of the poster boy candidates will not change the voters' stance. In terms of observation, it appears that the voters Kedah and Kelantan are already firm and will be with PN.

"PAS may not need a poster boy strategy in Kelantan and Kedah because of the overwhelming support of the Malay majority in those two states. However, in Terengganu, the state's past history shows that it is capable of being like a pendulum swing that can move between PAS and BN," he said.


Meanwhile, announcing candidates earlier by PH-BN is a strategy and an excellent step to ensure that the campaigns of both parties run smoothly.

Universiti Malaya's socio-political analyst, Associate Professor Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said it also aims to see and get reactions from the grassroots whether they align with the party's top brass.

He said the problem can be resolved before the candidate nomination day if issues arise.

"Overall, the names of the candidates are almost finished and then finalised; there may be only a few seats left, either still in negotiation or discussion. Therefore, an early announcement can solve various issues.

"If there is a change of candidates in any state legislative assembly (DUN) seats, the party leadership still has time to discuss and make changes. Although this kind of case is quite isolated, it is not impossible to happen," he said.

According to Awang Azman, a late announcement will cause various internal party crises, such as dissatisfaction and protests.

"If the candidates are announced early, individuals or parties who are not selected to contest in the state polls in a particular area will have a period to calm down before the nomination of candidates is held.

"After all, they still have room to hold discussions together instead of making decisions at the last minute," he said.

When asked about dissatisfaction among some parties, Awang Azman explained that it is common in politics.

"If you are not satisfied, it must be expressed, and finally, a discussion is held to get a final word from both sides," he said.