PAS’s mammoth rally in Kota Baru, Kelantan last month showed that the Islamist party was still relevant in the Malay heartland and resonated with young Malay Muslim supporters, an independent research firm disagreed.Although
Its recent survey shows that the party is expected to lose nearly 50% of its support in Kelantan during the next general election (GE).
Ilham Centre executive chairman Mohamad Hisomuddin Bakar said the survey found that many PAS members and supporters in Kelantan were expected to throw their support behind Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) in GE14, due by 2018.
These were mostly from the younger generation, professionals and former supporters of Muslim parties Berjasa and Parti Hizbul Muslimin Malaysia (Hamim), he said.
He said according to the survey results, 35% of PAS members in Kelantan who supported Amanah were still in the Islamist party as they did not want to cause problems for the PAS-led state government.
Some 15% of PAS members in Kelantan are said to have already joined the splinter party, which was formed by some of PAS’s most popular leaders dubbed the progressives after they lost heavily in the June party polls.
“We find activists from Berjasa and Hamim have joined Amanah, alongside professionals and youths in Kelantan,” Hisomuddin told The Malaysian Insider.
He added, however, that many Amanah supporters who held positions in the state government, including city councillors, village chiefs and other political portfolios, were still in PAS.
“They do not want to cause any problems by declaring they will join Amanah.”
Amanah’s largest group of members come from Kelantan, accounting for 8,000 of the total 30,000 members since the launch of the party on September 16.
Amanah Kelantan chairman Datuk Wan Abdul Rahim Wan Abdullah, meanwhile, said he was confident the new splinter party would win even in a three-cornered fight in Demit, one of PAS strongest state seats, which comes under the Kubang Kerian parliament constituency.
“We are confident of winning in Demit given the candidate we have there,” Wan Rahim told The Malaysian Insider.
He said, however, that he did not want Amanah to be blamed if the Kelantan state government, built by Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat since 1990, lost power.
That was why, he said that from the beginning, he had pushed for talks with PAS on avoiding three-cornered fights between PAS, Amanah, which formed Pakatan Harapan with DAP and PKR, and Barisan Nasional (BN) in Kelantan.
He added that Amanah was even prepared to sit out any of the state seats if an agreement could be reached between the two parties.
“But PAS is not bothered with our offer,” Wan Rahim said when met after a recent dialogue session organised by Amanah with professionals in Kelantan.
He said the programme, which targeted 70 professionals in the state, including doctors, pharmacists and lawyers, received overwhelming response.
Those who attended were mostly doctors and lecturers from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and the USM Hospital.
One of the participants, Dr Salwa Ghani, who is a PAS member, said she was mulling over giving up her membership to join Amanah.
“Most of my friends have joined Amanah and they have asked me to join them.
“For now, I am still with PAS but I am considering.
“When Tok Guru was around, we professionals felt very appreciated, but now it seems not so much,” she said, referring to influential PAS spiritual leader, Nik Aziz, who died in February this year. – November 5, 2015.