Multi-Cornered Fights In Melaka Polls


The nominations for the Melaka state elections came in today, and it looks like it’s going to be a three-cornered fight at least, all round. We unpack the political dynamics ahead of the polls.


Since 2018, multi-cornered fights will become a norm throughout upcoming elections, particularly so for GE15. The election dynamics will be difficult to predict as it is multiple parties’ political debut in Melaka, as well as the lookout for low voter turnout due to the Covid-19 situation, restrictiveness of mobility, disillusionment from voters due to politicking, as well as a portion of the misconception that the ongoing election is a by-election rather than state election; all of which cause uncertainty towards predicting the results of this election.

Beyond that, more Malay and Muslim parties contesting shows that no party can claim monopoly on their cause anymore, while racial and religious sentiment will still be used, however, what decision voters will ultimately make is difficult to project. For instance, Putra, one of the election’s new players led by Datuk Dr Ibrahim Ali, is targeting UMNO and PN/Bersatu’s voter share. As for names running under Pakatan Harapan, it can be assumed that they are attempting to make some in-roads into new voter territory, currently contesting for non-PH seats and as an attempt to break ground into new voter share.

There are a number of candidates who are notable in this election, such as 31-year-old Farzana Hayani Mohd Nasir, the youngest state election candidate. Candidates’ personalities will become secondary, however – parties who are able to create a clear and concise articulation of narrative to drive the state forward and mitigate issues such as the toll of Covid-19 on youth joblessness and the tourism industry, as well as flood issues as recent as last week, will be the one to clinch the vote.

As it stands, Melaka is a testing ground between three factions where voters are familiar with the good and bad of all of them. It is up to each of them to differentiate themselves from each other; whoever gets the most voters out will become the winning coalition, and any outcome will be utilised by them to chart their course for GE15 and beyond. For PAS, for instance, if this makes an in-road for Melaka due to their alignment with PN, it could become the nail in the coffin for their arrangement with UMNO.

Finally, as for thoughts on the Melaka SOP in light of the election, it is difficult to digest the differences between the state’s phase four recovery SOP and the ban of gatherings. As it stands it’s unsure whether these SOPs will be enforced justly; plus, given the absence of traditional campaigning methods, it is a concern whether each party will be given fair airtime in national broadcasting to reach voters they traditionally cannot reach.


Produced by: Loo Juosie, Raihanna Azwar

Presented by: Lee Chwi Lynn, Sharmilla Ganesan

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