Pollsters predict Anwar-led Pakatan Harapan will win most seats in Malaysia election

A large number of seats are too close to call and could be decided by swing voters. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

straitstimes.com | 19-Nov-2022 – KUALA LUMPUR – Two major independent pollsters have projected that Pakatan Harapan (PH) will win the most seats in Malaysia’s general election on Saturday, while a substantial number of constituencies are too close to call.

On the eve of polling day, Merdeka Center said it predicted that the PH opposition pact would win 82 seats. Partners in the caretaker government Perikatan Nasional (PN) would come in second with 43 seats, and ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) third with only 15 seats.

Ilham Centre, meanwhile, predicted that PH would gain 86 seats, BN 51 seats, and PN 25 seats.

The findings by both opinion research firms highlight the likelihood that none of the three coalitions will win a simple majority of 112 seats needed to form a federal government.

This would possibly result in a hung Parliament, adding to the economic uncertainty in the country.

According to Merdeka Center, there were 45 constituencies nationwide, representing about one-fifth of the 222-seat Parliament, that were too close to call and could swing to either one of the three coalitions.

“We note that the tight contest in this election has meant that the competition in many seats will be very close among the competing parties,” the pollster said in a statement on Friday.
From the rolling survey it undertook between Nov 3 and Nov 18, Merdeka Center said it found that the three main coalitions with a strong base of support still needed to swing undecided and new voters to their side.

“In the ensuing campaign period, we noted that there was a discernible movement of Malay voters to PN, and to a lesser extent, PH. This development was at the expense of BN,” it said, adding that non-Malay voters remained firmly in support of PH.

In a separate survey by Ilham Centre, its executive director Hisommudin Bakar said BN is still the top pick among Malay voters, particularly in rural Malay areas, while PH continued to draw support from non-Malay voters.

“The sentiment of urban voters, especially the non-Malay group, still remains with PH. It is difficult for this group to change their support to other parties due to very limited options. Meanwhile, rural Malay voters are still divided and hard for PH to sway, especially with PN increasingly breaking up BN’s permanent vote bank,” he said.

Mr Hissomudin said the survey also found that there were 26 seats too close to call, saying that all coalitions have an evenly split chance at winning. These seats could well be the decider, he said.

“And in these seats, the kingmakers would be the undecided voters who could easily swing either way. These voters could decide only until the very last minute before their votes are cast, making these seats hard to predict,” he said.

Spectators at the last leg of campaigning of Pakatan Harapan (PH) president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in Tambun, Perak, on Nov 18, 2022. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The undecideds include first-time voters, who total seven million or 33 per cent of the electorate, he said.

Classifying them as “wild voters”, Mr Hissomudin said its research found that the group has yet to make a decision on who to vote for.

“We found that young rural voters tend to follow the political lines of family and parents. For young urban voters, despite being influenced by their family’s choices, they stick with their own choices. However, the majority of them have not yet made a decision,” he said.