KUALA LUMPUR: An academic has warned that Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) decision to field Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Langkawi could backfire.
Azmi Hassan from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia said Mahathir’s name was synonymous with development on the island, where the people acknowledged him for his past contributions.
“(But) while it is true that Mahathir brought development, progress and prosperity to Langkawi, who were the people behind him? Which party supported him at that time?
“Mahathir’s strategy is now purely to bank on the sentiments of voters. It is an attempt to play with their sentiments, which is a gamble that could backfire on him,” he told Bernama yesterday.
He also warned that PAS’ presence on the island could lead to three-cornered fights with PH and Barisan Nasional (BN).
Universiti Utara Malaysia’s Md Shukri Shib meanwhile said if BN members remained loyal to the coalition and its leadership, Mahathir would have a difficult time in Langkawi.
“Even though Langkawi is progressive, the political style there is still rural. If the BN candidate can win the hearts of the voters who still hold on to family values, community life and economic prosperity, BN will not face any problems.”
He added however that BN should not underestimate Mahathir’s influence in Langkawi.
“Mahathir himself is from Kedah. He has the background of BN in Kedah, and he understands what the people of Kedah want. So it is not impossible that he can get the votes there,” he said.
Mahathir, who is chairman of PH, was Kubang Pasu MP from 1974 to 2004.
On Sunday, PH announced that he would contest the parliamentary seat of Langkawi in the coming polls. – Bernama