PH at risk of losing Simpang Jeram seat, says analyst

PH at risk of losing Simpang Jeram seat, says analyst

PH at risk of losing Simpang Jeram seat, says analyst
PH at risk of losing Simpang Jeram seat, says analyst

PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Harapan is at risk of losing the Simpang Jeram state seat in the coming by-election due to a shift in Malay support within the constituency, an analyst said.

However, the shift towards Perikatan Nasional is more down to dissatisfaction with the current economic situation rather than genuine support for either Bersatu or PAS, said Mazlan Ali of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

“Simpang Jeram is quite critical. It is not impossible for PH to lose the seat given the current developments,” he told FMT, adding that the seat is close to PN chairman Muhyiddin Yassin’s stronghold.

A former Johor menteri besar, Muhyiddin has held the Pagoh parliamentary seat since 1995. He was also the Pagoh MP from 1978 to 1986.

Malay voters make up about 55% of the electorate in the Simpang Jeram state seat, which is located within the Bakri parliamentary constituency.

It was won by PAS in GE12 and GE13, but PH claimed the seat in GE14 through Salahuddin Ayub by a 7,687-vote majority, and again in last year’s Johor state election with a 2,399-vote majority.

The Pulai parliamentary and Simpang Jeram state seats fell vacant following the death of Salahuddin, the incumbent, on July 23.

‘Non-Malay votes may see PH retain Pulai’

Mazlan said PH has better odds of retaining Pulai, although with a smaller majority, as the high percentage of non-Malay voters (44%) will likely work in PH’s favour.

Salahuddin wrested the Pulai seat from Barisan Nasional’s Nur Jazlan Mohamed in GE14 with a 28,924-vote majority, and beat him again in GE15 with a 33,174-vote majority.

However, Mazlan does not expect such a commanding win for PH this time around, as he foresees a portion of BN’s votes going to PN.

Ilham Centre executive director Hisomuddin Bakar said strong support for PN among voters aged 18 to 25, as demonstrated in GE15 and the recent state elections, will pose a threat to PH-BN.

He also said the unity government has not worked hard enough to appeal to this age group.

“Apart from Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim meeting students on campus, the unity government has little else to show. These youth reject Umno and the unity government for putting individuals linked to corruption in national leadership positions,” he said.

‘Very weak Umno’

Meanwhile, Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara and Oh Ei Sun from the Singapore Institute of International Affairs said PN had a bright chance to win both Pulai and Simpang Jeram, due to the racial makeup of the electorate in both constituencies.

Azmi said PN’s prospects in Johor were much brighter now, particularly because the coalition will come up against a “very weak Umno”. Umno performed dismally in the six state elections on Aug 12, winning only 19 of the 108 seats contested.

Oh also expects PN to make inroads in the by-election for both seats as many urban and suburban Malays prefer a “conservative and religiously oriented society”, as shown in the Penang and Selangor state election results.

He said PN offers a conservative government which plays into the increasing conservatism among these voters.

“Southern Johor, with its proximity to metropolitan Singapore, would be the next crucible to test out this hypothesis,” he said.

PN had previously underperformed in Johor, winning only two parliamentary seats in GE15 and three seats in the 2022 state election.

PH at risk of losing Simpang Jeram seat, says analyst



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