Wednesday, April 20, 2016

#PRNSarawak : Sabotage could still affect election outcome, says analyst

Barisan Nasional could yet face internal sabotage if unhappiness over candidate selection is not resolved even though all its 82 candidates have been finalised, says a political analyst.

Assoc Prof Jeniri Amir (pic) of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak said the fact that Barisan's candidates were only settled so close to nomination suggested problems in choosing who should contest from SUPP, SPDP and the breakaway parties of UPP and Teras.

"This is the first time that Barisan has released its full list almost at the last minute. It's a manifestation of the problems between SUPP and UPP as well as SPDP and Teras," he told The Star.

The candidates had been introduced in batches over the past few weeks, with the final three announced on Monday. Of the 82 named, 40 are from PBB, 13 from SUPP, 11 from PRS and five from SPDP. The rest are direct candidates comprising seven from UPP, three from Teras and three who resigned from PBB.

Nomination for the May 7 polls is on Apr 25.

Jeniri said the problematic candidate selection would have created animosity and intrigue among the parties concerned, which could lead to sabotage.

"When people are not happy with the decision, it may backfire later on. They could sabotage by supporting opposition candidates in terms of resources, urging their supporters to back the opposition, not giving any help to Barisan candidates or keeping quiet during the campaign.

"And judging from the statements of certain individuals who were not selected, probably some of them will stand as independent candidates," he said.

As such, he said it was important for Barisan to close ranks and unite or risk opening the door for the opposition to win.

In his estimation, about 22 seats could currently be considered problematic for Barisan.

"I think the parties concerned have to accept the fact that the candidates have already been chosen. Now they have to work together and be united.

"There are certain seats where they can win if they really work together," he said.

Jeniri also said the selection of direct candidates was a short-term measure to resolve the SUPP-UPP and SPDP-Teras tussles.

"The biggest question now is what's next for these candidates if they win. Are they going back to Teras and UPP? If so, that will be status quo, back to square one. Then you repeat the whole process in the coming general election and next state election," he said.

Jeniri added that he saw no alternative but to dissolve the two splinter parties if Barisan wanted to move forward and ensure harmony within the coalition.

Otherwise it would be destabilised by ongoing conflict.

On the opposition front, Jeniri said DAP and PKR should come to a compromise on their five or so disputed seats in order to face Barisan one-to-one.
"If not, it will negate the effect of any Barisan infighting. If they do not compromise, they will be sending the wrong message to the rakyat," he said.

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