WATCH: Can the opposition hold on to Selangor in Malaysia Election 2018?

The stakes are high in Malaysia’s richest state Selangor, which has been under opposition control since 2008. Will the Pakatan Harapan coalition be able to retain its hold or will Barisan Nasional succeed in taking back the state?

The stakes are high in Malaysia’s richest and most urbanised state Selangor, which has been under opposition control since 2008.

Barisan Nasional (BN) has set its sights on winning back Selangor but it will be an uphill battle to prise it from opposition Pakatan Harapan's (PH) firm 10-year grip. In BN's favour is the prospect of three-cornered fights and a hefty federal budget with which to woo voters.

 

Selangor voters are among the hardest-hit by soaring prices and stagnant incomes, making them grateful recipients of the ruling administration's cash handouts scheme. But many also blame central government for the unpopular goods and services tax introduced in 2015.

PH is generally seen as having governed well in the last decade, implementing its own welfare schemes, including a free water programme.

But while it has loyal supporters among the largely urban Chinese, it needs the rural Malay vote to win over some of the 13 seats held by PAS. Pundits say its Malay-centric parties Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Parti Amanah Negara have made little progress on this front.

Will the Pakatan Harapan coalition be able to retain its hold or will Barisan Nasional succeed in taking back the state? Dr Lee Hwok-Aun, a senior fellow at ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute and The Straits Times Foreign Editor Zakir Hussain discuss how voters in Malaysia's richest state might vote on May 9.