ABDUL Hadi Awang is confident PAS can do well enough to be the kingmaker in the 14th general election.
He ticked off the seats the Islamist party can win in Selangor (13 out of 56) and Kelantan (32 out of 45).
The PAS president even told a gathering on Sunday the Islamist party may seize Perlis (where it has one seat out of 15), Kedah (eight out of 36) and Perak (four out of 59).
But notably, his home state Terengganu, where he was a one-term menteri besar, did not feature in the plans.
With fewer than 10% of the 50,000 Selangor members turning up at the fastaqim 2.4 in Shah Alam on Sunday, how does this figure in the bigger scheme of things in Selangor for PAS?
Hadi’s focus on Pakatan Harapan chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s past mistakes and softer stance against Umno also spelt out PAS’ strategy in the coming days, said Ilham Centre director Hisommudin Bakar.
“His attacks were focused on Dr Mahathir and how the former prime minister stopped oil royalty payments to the state government in 1999 when Hadi was MB.
“Hadi did not attack Umno directly as the latest PAS strategy is to pinch votes from Umno supporters,” said Hisommudin.
PAS has to concentrate on votes from Umno as it is expected to suffer greatly from the loss of votes from non-Malays following its break-up with PH.
“PAS’ only path to victory in a three-cornered fight is to hope for swing voters from Umno.”
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s Dr Mazlan Ali said the decision not to attack Umno is in line with its ambition to be kingmaker.
This is consistent with the party stand to agree with some government policies while opposing those that did not benefit the people, he said.
Credible third force
Behind Hadi’s message lies the belief that PAS can be a third force capable of challenging Barisan Nasional and PH.
“This is due to the confidence in its own election machinery and the thousands of new members every month,” said Mazlan.
“But Hadi didn’t touch on Terengganu because he probably knows that the state will remain in BN’s hands,” said Mazlan who ran GE14 simulations on Terengganu.
Mazlan’s study, which was presented in Universiti Malaya last week, said PAS is likely to keep only two state seats in the event of three-cornered fights in Terengganu.
Although the low turnout at Sunday’s fastaqim 2.4 was unexpected, Mazlan said, the support for PAS in Kelantan and Terengganu is generally much higher compared with other states.
“PAS followers in the Klang Valley do not value showing up for events as much as their counterparts from Kelantan and Terengganu,” said Mazlan.
Another factor, said Mazlan, could be due to PAS’ split in 2015 that resulted in the emergence of Amanah.
“Many PAS supporters in the Klang Valley are confused with the party’s direction and probably decided not to show up.”
Hisommudin said fastaqim 2.4 successfully activated PAS’ election machinery in Selangor and gave clear signs that the state would no longer cooperate with BN or PH.