The state election in Melaka will see independent candidates joining political coalitions Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional going all out for the 28 state seats.
Three-cornered fights are taking place in most of the seats, and in some of them the battle is likely to be multi-cornered fights, the most intensely fought state election so far.
Nevertheless, as the state election is held with the COVID-19 outbreak still a major concern, turnout rate will likely be affected, especially among voters working in other states. They may not return to Melaka to cast their votes.
Some voters may also opt not to vote because of the pandemic.
With three political coalitions going all out, the state election is likely to see a split in Malay votes in favor of Pakatan Harapan.
Of the 28 seats, only 11 seats are Malay-majority with more than 70% Malay votes.
These 11 state seats are Sungai Udang, Sungai Rambai, Tanjung Bidara, Ayer Limau, Telok Mas, Kuala Linggi, Lendu, Pantai Kundor, Taboh Naning, Ayer Molek and Serkam.
The remaining 17 state seats are Chinese-majority or mixed constituencies where Pakatan Harapan is focusing on.
DAP has set its eyes on wining all Chinese-majority stats.
In the last General Elections, Pakatan Harapan won a total of 15 seats resulting in the change of state government with a simple majority.
However, four Pakatan Harapan state assemblymen subsequently defected last March, paving the way for Perikatan Nasional to helm the state government.
Last month, four PN and pro-PN state assemblymen pulled out from the coalition, causing the collapse of the PN-led state government.
Some voters are upset with the defections which occurred twice within such a short period of time and may opt to cast spoiled votes in protest.
Datuk Seri Idris Haron (Sungai Udang) and Datuk Nor Azman Hassan (Pantai Kundor) from Umno will be contesting under Pakatan Harapan in Asahan and Pantai Kundor respectively this round.
Their move would affect the voting pattern of some voters.
Pakatan Harapan hopes to win Asahan and Pantai Kundor state seats previously held by Umno with slim majorities of 275 and 772 votes respectively.
It is worth noting that the Machap Jaya state seat won by Parti Keadilan Rakyat in the last General Election will now see multi-cornered fight this time.
PKR drops the incumbent Datuk Ginie Lim Siew Ling and has fielded Lau Beng Hau instead, a move which has since caused an internal split and might backfire.
MCA candidate Ngwe Hee Sem, who has been serving the area, is upbeat about winning back the state seat for the party under Barisan Nasional.
Tai Siong Jiul from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia will be a fresh face in Machap Jaya.
Seen as an underdog. Tai once won in the debut election of the state’s village heads.
Pakatan Harapan is relying on the track record of its 22 months as the state government and Adly’s impact as former chief minister to win the election.
However, Pakatan Harapan’s decision to accept two political frogs–Idris and Nor Azman–could be a setback as the voters, especially the Chinese, are disenchanted by the worsening split within the coalition.
It will be a great challenge for PH which used to receive a strong mandate from the Chinese voters in the last GE, to secure the same number of votes this round.
Meanwhile, Barisan Nasional, especially Umno, has fielded many new faces in the upcoming state polls, an indication of the coalition’s keenness to reform.
This may be in favor of the coalition which still enjoys some form of advantage in rural areas.
The voters’ trend is still uncertain for the time being as political campaigns will determine which coalition will eventually win in the election.