World

BN should win election: Polls

But ruling coalition may lose the popular vote, as well as BN stronghold of Johor to opposition

As campaigning for Malaysia's election drew to a close, pollster Merdeka Center predicted yesterday evening that ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) would be returned to power by retaining the support of Malay voters, yet possibly losing the majority vote.

This would leave it in the same position as it was after the previous election.

BN is expected to safely win 100 out of the 222 parliamentary seats, while its main challenger, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, will likely bag 83, said Merdeka Center.

Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), which has a stronghold in Kelantan, is expected to comfortably hold on to just two seats.

Far closer contests are expected in the remaining 37 seats.

"The high number of marginal seats implies that voter turnout will be a critical factor in determining the outcome of many seats on election day," Merdeka Center said.

In terms of the popular vote within peninsular Malaysia, PH is expected to pip BN to the post by winning 43.4 per cent, compared to BN's 37.3 per cent, according to estimates based on the Merdeka Center survey that was concluded at noon yesterday.

The high number of marginal seats implies that voter turnout will be a critical factor in determining the outcome of many seats on election day.Merdeka Center

PAS is expected to win 19.3 per cent of the vote.

Voters, the report showed, were largely concerned about economic resilience and the protection of their rights more than having a clean government.

With the BN's "retention of a plurality of support among Malay voters, alongside PAS' ability to retain at least one quarter of the Malay vote share", BN is expected to win the election, said Merdeka Center.

Earlier yesterday, another Kuala Lumpur-based research firm, Ilham Centre, said longtime BN bastion Johor may fall to PH, which is expected to maintain control of Selangor and Penang.

BN, according to Ilham Centre's executive director Hisommudin Bakar, is expected to keep the states of Terengganu, Perlis and Pahang, and possibly win Kelantan back from PAS, which has held it since 1990.

TOUGH FIGHT

He sees BN in a tough fight with PH in Kedah and Perak.

Of Parliament's 222 seats, BN held 131 seats - 17 short of the super majority needed to amend the Constitution.

The electoral boundaries were redrawn this year in a manner favouring the BN, the opposition has alleged.

But Mr Hisommudin said the redelineation "was unable to add seats that can contribute to a two-thirds majority for the ruling party".

His centre found PH in the lead in 77 of the 165 seats on the peninsula, with BN in the lead in 56 and PAS ahead in seven. The remaining 25 will see close contests.

BN leader and Prime Minister Najib Razak wrote in a blog on Monday that the opposition was scaremongering and making "false promises they know they cannot fulfil".

The PH yesterday alleged that "irresponsible fiscal policy conduct since 2009 and steady erosion of the quality of our institutions have set the country back".

It pledged to evaluate the financial position within 100 days of taking over, saying: "Respected, eminent, patriotic Malaysians will be invited to contribute in undertaking these reforms."

Malaysian police: Syndicates organising bets on election results

ALOR SETAR Malaysian police said they have detected several gambling syndicates organising bets on the election results.

However, no arrest has been made yet.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Noor Rashid Ibrahim said police have formed a special team to monitor such betting activities during the election period.

He said his men are monitoring the situation closely, warning that stern action will be taken against individuals found involved in these illegal gambling activities, the New Straits Times reported.

"Police have the responsibility to ensure no fake news or slander is spread.

"So far, we have detected there are syndicates trying to organise GE14 betting in bigger states such as Johor, Selangor and Penang, and also Kuala Lumpur," he said when met at the High Profile Policing Programme at the Pokok Sena morning marketyesterday.

On the same note, he advised all quarters to abide by the law to ensure the government that will be formed is not based on bets.

Mahathir: PAS to blame for Muslim dissent in Malaysia

LANGKAWI Islamic party Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) is using religion to cheat the people, especially those in rural areas, said former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.

The opposition Langkawi parliamentary candidate also said PAS was the cause behind Muslim disunity in the country, the New Straits Times reported.

He said: "In the past, the Muslims were united but now they are divided, after PAS stated that those working with infidels would become infidels themselves, whereas those cooperating with PAS would become Muslims.

"Before this, PAS said Umno is a party of infidels, as it is working with infidels such as the Malaysian Chinese Association, but then it worked with the Democratic Action Party, so it should also be an infidel.

"But PAS said it was not cooperation but tahaluf siyasi (political cooperation) and when an Arabic language is used, it becomes halal. In fact, PAS brought about a new religion when it alleged that if you do not join PAS, you become an infidel."

Dr Mahathir also said those who followed PAS leaders had deviated from true religious teaching.

"After this, those who want to convert to Islam should recite the two clauses of Affirmation of Faith in Islam (dua kalimah syahadah) and then say, 'I am a PAS member, and only then you become a Muslim.'

"I would like to ask PAS: Muslims globally number some 1.7 billion and they are not PAS members… Are they infidels?"

Malaysia GE: By the numbers

11

days for campaigning

14.9m

registered voters

2,333

candidates - a record number.

222

parliamentary seats up for grabs

192

seats with multi-cornered fights

112

seats needed for a simple majority

148

seats needed for a supermajority, allowing the winning party to push through laws.

505

state seats contested , except in Sarawak which held its state polls in May 2016.

- THE STRAITS TIMES

WORLD