PAS springs surprise, defying earlier predictions

Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) retained its stronghold in Kelantan and also took over the next-door state of Terengganu.
Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) retained its stronghold in Kelantan and also took over the next-door state of Terengganu. PHOTO: REUTERS

With most attention focused yesterday on the huge battle between Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Harapan, the third faction in the fight has scored two unexpected victories.

Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) retained its stronghold in Kelantan and also took over the next-door state of Terengganu. It was widely expected to lose Kelantan and give up ground nationwide for Parliament seats after it abandoned the other main opposition parties.

The party was generally panned for contesting 158 parliamentary seats and 389 state seats nationwide, the most number of seats contested by any party in this election. It was also the largest number of seats PAS has ever contested.

It remained unclear what were the total number of seats the Islamist party won, but the Election Commission announced it had bagged 14 Parliament seats nationwide.

But PAS sprang a big surprise by winning Kelantan with a stronger mandate, and snatching oil-rich Terengganu from BN, which suffered massive losses throughout the country.

Just as importantly, PAS managed to totally block its three key rivals for the Malay vote in the two states - its splinter Parti Amanah Negara, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Parti Keadilan Rakyat. All three parties failed to win any seats.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 10, 2018, with the headline 'PAS springs surprise, defying earlier predictions'. Print Edition | Subscribe