One analyst says MCA and Gerakan need new faces to challenge DAP while another feels that the 1MDB scandal will be costly to the two BN components

KUALA LUMPUR: DAP should be able to hold on to Penang in the coming general election although its secretary-general and Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has been charged with corruption and is battling allegations on the undersea tunnel project, according to two political analysts.

Tasmania University’s Prof James Chin said despite grappling with its own problems, DAP could ride on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) controversy to pull through.

“DAP’s majorities in Penang are big enough to hold them from losing. All indications are that the Chinese have hardened their attitude towards MCA and Gerakan.

“The Chinese are angry with MCA, who is seen as being too close with Najib Razak and they do not dare to say a word on the 1MDB scandal,” said Chin, the director of the Asian Institute at the university.

Universiti Malaya’s Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi also said recent issues surrounding Lim could cause DAP to lose some votes but were not enough to make it lose the state.

The Penang undersea tunnel project, slated for construction from 2023 till 2027, is currently the subject of a major probe by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Lim has insisted that the project was above board as it was awarded via an open tender process headed by states ecretary Farizan Darus.

Two company officials were detained by MACC on Jan 9 but released after 10 days. A woman, who is an engineering consultant, was subsequently arrested to assist in the investigation into alleged corruption in the undersea tunnel project.

Awang Azman added that MCA and Gerakan must field new candidates in order to challenge DAP and Pakatan Harapan in Penang.

“The scandals lingering around Lim can cause DAP some votes, but I don’t think they will lose. However, MCA and Gerakan can put up a fight by fielding new faces and not recycled candidates.

“The scandals are heavy for Lim. MCA and Gerakan can use the issue to win some seats but they must work hard for it. The important thing is that they need a very good candidate first,” Awang Azman said.