AS Malaysia faces the most keenly contested general election since Independence, what are both the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat coalitions saying about their respective chances of forming government?
Barisan Nasional (BN)
“That is our target, to achieve a two-thirds majority, and we will go all out to achieve that.”
BN chairman and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak, expressing confidence that the BN will regain a two-thirds majority in the 13th general election (GE13), at a press conference after his winding-up speech at the Umno General Assembly in December 2012. He believed the momentum generated at the assembly and party spirit could be sustained until the elections. (Source: Najib: BN confident of two-thirds majority, Bernama, 2 Dec 2012)
“In addition to retaining 140 seats, BN is confident of winning five of 23 parliamentary seats held by PAS, ten of 31 seats held by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and five seats held by the DAP.
“With the 140 seats plus the 20 seats, BN will have 160 seats, which is more than two-thirds majority.”
Umno information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan believes the BN has halted the 2008 political tsunami with its 1Malaysia concept and welfare programmes. He said the BN is most confident of regaining Kedah, followed by Selangor, Kelantan and Penang. In addition, he is certain that Chinese voters will swing back to the ruling coalition in the upcoming polls. (Source: BN can win 160 parliamentary seats, get two-third majority, says Ahmad Maslan, Bernama, 12 March 2013)
“Our latest intel is indicating that we could add 11 more seats where Pakatan have failed to resolve [their] negotiations so there is a huge possibility that we would have multi-cornered fights there.
“On the same note, we can also win four more in Sabah and Sarawak.”
Ahmad Maslan at a press conference at Umno’s headquarters. He said the BN would bag another 15 federal seats, on top of his earlier prediction, bringing its total win from 160 to 175 seats. He said this was because the PR had failed to resolve the contentious issues in its discussions on seat allocation. (Source: BN confident can bag another 15 seats due to Pakatan infighting, The Malaysian Insider, 13 April 2013)
Pakatan Rakyat (PR)
“I don’t want to sound overconfident, but I believe looking into the trend now, it will be a comfortable majority.
“Beyond 10 is comfortable.”
PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, predicting that the PR will win the national elections with a majority of more than 10 seats and control at least six of the 13 states. (Source: Anwar predicts minimum 10-seat majority in Malaysian poll, Bloomberg, 8 March 2013)
“[M]y dream results for the GE13, i.e. PR winning with a good and comfortable majority of at least 125 parliamentary seats [...] – with a distribution of 45 MPs for PKR and 40 MPs each for DAP and PAS.
“Although Umno/BN seems at present to enjoy an edge over PR, GE13 is going to be a very tight race and the general election campaign itself will be the final determinant as to which coalition will win in the race for the Federal Government in Putrajaya.”
DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang foresees that the PR could emerge victorious in GE13 with either a narrow or comfortable majority. The PR holds 82 seats in Parliament after they denied the BN of its two-thirds majority in 2008.
Lim said Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman had conceded that the PR could win GE13 with a slim majority of 12 to 22 seats. But Lim hopes the PR would win with at least a 28-seat majority, giving the young coalition a comfortable victory. He said the PR targets to win more than nine seats in Johor, and more seats in Sabah and Sarawak to oust the BN. (Source: My dream results for the 13GE, Lim Kit Siang’s blog, 28 February 2013)
“I actually think we will do really well. This is a campaign for BN to lose and PR to win. I have never seen the BN so defensive as they are now to start their campaign on a negative note. Once your opponent starts on a negative note, you have won.
“But to have the perfect storm, all the stars must be aligned. All voters must come out to vote.
“On 6 May, I’m very sure you’ll see a new prime minister.”
PKR central leadership council member Elizabeth Wong, who is also a caretaker exco member in the PR’s Selangor government, on 11 April 2013. Wong was one of the panel speakers at an Institut Rakyat forum, GE13: Election A to Z and Role of Caretaker Government, which was held in Petaling Jaya.
Constitutional lawyer Tommy Thomas, who was a co-panelist, also said he was confident that, if there was an 80% voter turnout on 5 May, “God willing, Anwar will be sworn in as the PM”.
In March, PAS election director Dr Hatta Ramli said he believed that up to nine states may fall to the PR, adding that disgruntled Malaysians were waiting to vote out the ruling coalition.
In 2008, the PR won five states: Kedah, Penang, Perak, Selangor and Kelantan. However, in 2009, the BN wrested Perak away following the crossing over of four state assemblypersons to the BN. (Source: Reporting by Jacqueline Ann Surin at the Institut Rakyat forum).