BN denies Invoke's study, says will retain Perak with extra five seats

Jalal Ali Abd Rahim, SHAMSUL KAMAL AMARUDIN, Shaarani Ismail

IPOH: Barisan Nasional (BN) has dismissed a study done by Invoke Malaysia that Perak will be one of the states to be captured by Pakatan Harapan in the 14th General Election (GE14).

The party sources described the think tank's analysis as part of the opposition's psychological warfare and strategy against BN.

They said BN, through its own survey, meet-the-people sessions and strategies had instead predicted a big win for the coalition.

It will not only retain the 31 state seats won in the previous polls, but BN will also wrest back five more state seats.

They said BN has the potential of winning back five Malay-majority seats - Kuala Sepetang, Changkat Jering, Selinsing, Titi Serong and Sungai Rapat.

Three of the states seats - Selinsing, Titi Serong and Sungai Rapat are now under Pas, while Kuala Sepetang (PKR) and Changkat Jering (Parti Amanah Negara).

Last week, Invoke Malaysia had said that in GE14, Pakatan Harapan was expected to capture Kedah, Perak and Johor, including getting a bigger share of federal seats.

The study, sampled from more than 2,000 respondents, also claimed that Pas would lose Kelantan to BN.

BN sources however were sceptical of the study and insisted that the coalition could win the five extra seats based on several factors that included fielding the right candidate, identifying the right target group and retaining the existing 'white voters'.

"BN can win back Kuala Sepetang seat should the party field in Malay candidate as 66 per cent of the voters there are Malays, while the candidate for Sungai Rapat seat should be a young person since 46 per cent of the people there are young voters.

"Selinsing, for example, can be won should the party manages to resolve some issues involving fishermen there," the sources said.

Political analysis Dr Achmad Dzariean Mohd Nadzri said BN could retain its momentum in winning the state if the coalition field winnable candidates at all the seats.

Achmad Dzariean, who is also Universiti Utara Malaysia's Institute for Malaysian Political Analysis (Mapan) fellow, said BN should not be too comfortable as the opposition is currently eyeing eight seats which BN won by slim majority in the past general election.

"There is no doubt that the scenario may change should no proactive measures are taken by BN, especially from new voters who are capable of giving a surprise result.

"The voters are looking for capable candidates and BN needs to select candidates who are free from any scandals. Also, they should avoid fielding recycled or old faces," he added.

Meanwhile, Perak BN deputy chairman Datuk Shaarani Mohamad said BN would be able wrest back at least five state seats or more.

"The involvement of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) and Pakatan Harapan (PH) will not give a big impact to BN." he said. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd