Facebook Page of Parti Amanah Negara, Accessed on 7 November 2022. (Screengrab: Parti Amanah Negara / Facebook)

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GE15: Parti Amanah Negara’s Strong and Volatile Seats


Amanah, the progressive Islamist party, will be contesting in as many as 54 seats in Malaysia’s general elections. The prospect of many multi-cornered fights suggests that the party faces an uphill battle to retain the eleven parliamentary seats it now holds.


On 16 September 2015, Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) was officially formed. The party’s members consisted of those who were previously with Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), but who were defeated during party elections for their differing approach to Islamist politics. While PAS remains conservative and exclusivist, Amanah can be characterised as a progressive Islamist party with reformist aspirations. Six Members of Parliament (MP) and seven state legislative assemblymen from six states left PAS to join Amanah. Later that year, Amanah, the Democratic Action Party (DAP), and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) joined forces to form Pakatan Harapan (PH). Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), joined the alliance in 2017, while Sabah’s Parti Warisan (Warisan) allied itself with PH in 2018. The bloc, referred to as PH-Plus, made history when it won Malaysia’s 14th General Election (GE14) in 2018, securing 121 of parliamentary 222 seats. Amanah contributed 11 of those seats.

However, since then, the Malaysian political scene has become more crowded. With the departure of Bersatu and several PKR MPs from the alliance, the PH administration fell in March 2020, making way for the formation of Perikatan Nasional (PN), a third bloc in Malaysian politics. PAS is now part of this coalition. That same year, Mahathir Mohamad left Bersatu to form his own party, Pejuang. There is also Ikatan Demokratik Malaysia (MUDA) headed by Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who was formerly with Bersatu and who served as a minister in the PH administration. PH has agreed to an electoral pact with MUDA to contest in GE15.

In his 2017 monograph Parti Amanah Negara in Johor: Birth, Challenges and Prospects, Wan Saiful Wan Jan surmised that Amanah had the potential to win in multi-racial constituencies where Chinese voters constitute 30 to 45 per cent of the population. Although he situated his argument within the context of Johor, it appeared that his hypothesis held water in the rest of the country. This was confirmed in GE14, where “95 percent of the ethnic Chinese population and 70-75 percent of the ethnic Indians voted for PH.” To be sure, Amanah also received significant support from urban Malay voters.

This now leads to questions about the fate of Amanah in the upcoming GE15, which may witness multi-cornered fights unless all opposition parties come to a common understanding. Short of such an agreement, there is doubt that Amanah will be able to defend its 11 seats.

In GE15, Amanah will be contesting in as many as 54 seats. Based on recent experience and the high probability of multi-cornered fights, the party faces an uphill battle, as demonstrated in the Johor state election where Amanah dropped from holding nine state assembly seats to only one.

Nevertheless, the results of GE15 remain unpredictable. This article considers the re-election prospects of Amanah’s incumbents, and studies the few constituencies that hold out a relatively positive outlook for the party.

In GE15, Amanah will be contesting in as many as 54 seats. Based on recent experience and the high probability of multi-cornered fights, the party faces an uphill battle, as demonstrated in the Johor state election where Amanah dropped from holding nine state assembly seats to only one.


Of the 11 seats won in GE14, Amanah is arguably rooted in only five of them. There are three reasons for saying this. Firstly, these are the number of seats which they won with a big majority. Secondly, the Amanah candidates in these seats, all of whom attained prominence while they were members of PAS, retained popular support despite their new affiliation. Finally, the state constituencies within these seats made strong contributions to their victory and have been occupied either by Amanah, PKR, or DAP. The five strong seats are (P codes for parliament seats, N for state assembly seats):

  1. Pulai P161

The incumbent MP is Salahuddin Ayub, the former Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry during PH’s administration. He is currently Deputy President of Amanah and a holding member of the state constituency of N13 Simpang Jeram in Johor.

Salahuddin won this seat in GE14 with a majority of 28,924 votes. He won 55,447 votes against the United Malays National Organization’s (UMNO) Nur Jazlan Mohamed who received 26,523 votes, and PAS’ Mohd Mazri Yahya, who came third with 4,332 votes.

2. Hulu Langat P101

The MP is Hasanuddin Mohd Yunus, who is one of the party’s vice presidents. Hasanuddin won this seat in GE14 with a majority of 25,424 votes. He won 49,004 votes against UMNO’s Azman Ahmad who received 23,580 votes and PAS’ Che Rosli Che Mat who had 15,663 votes.

One of the state constituencies within the Hulu Langat federal constituency is N23 Dusun Tua, which DAP’s Edry Faizal Eddy Yusof won with a huge majority in GE14. He received 22,325 votes against UMNO’s Mohd Zin Isa’s 11,903 votes, and PAS’ Razaly Hassan’s 7,771 votes. DAP’s hold on Dusun Tua may therefore contribute to Amanah’s strength in Hulu Langat.

A new development is that, in the upcoming GE15, Amanah is sending Mohd Sany Hamzan, a member of the Selangor State Legislative Assembly, to defend the seat.

3. Shah Alam P108

Khalid Abd Samad, a well-known leader of Amanah, has held this seat since GE12. Khalid was Minister of Federal Territories during PH’s administration. In GE14, he attained a majority of 33,849 and received a total of 55,949 votes against UMNO’s Azhari Shaari who had 22,100 votes and PAS’ stalwart, Mohd Zuhdi Marzuki, who had 15,194 votes

In GE13 he defeated UMNO’s Zulkifli Noordin, winning 49,009 votes against Zulkifli’s 38,070 votes, for a majority of 10,939. Two of the state constituencies in Selangor, N40 Kota Anggerik and N41 Batu Tiga, are both PKR strongholds which have strong support for Khalid or for anyone replacing him.

In the upcoming election, Azli Yusof, Khalid’s right-hand man will be contesting here.

4. Kota Raja P111

The incumbent in Kota Raja is none other than Mohamad Sabu, the President of Amanah and Minister of Defence during PH’s administration. Mohamad first contested in this seat in GE14, during which he won 90,697 votes, with a majority of 71,142 votes. He defeated PAS’ Mohamed Diah Baharun who had 19,555 votes, and Barisan Nasional’s (BN) candidate, Gunalan Velu (from the Malaysian Indian Congress, MIC), who had 17,874 votes.

In the two elections prior to GE14, Kota Raja was represented by a member of PAS’ reformist bloc, Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud, who later became a leader of Amanah’s women’s wing. In 2018 she contested under Amanah in the state constituency of Seri Serdang. Thus, given the longstanding popularity of Amanah members in Kota Raja, the seat is considered a safe seat for any Amanah candidate who runs there.

5. Sepang P113

The incumbent in this seat is Mohamed Hanipa Maidin who won for the second time in GE14. Mohamed Hanipa was Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of legal affairs during PH’s administration. In 2018, he won 46,740 votes with a 18,705 majority against UMNO’s Marsum Paing who won 28,035 votes and PAS’ Sabirin Marsono who won 15,882 votes.

However, Hanipa is not in good health and will be giving way to a younger candidate. Amanah Women’s Wing chief, Aiman Athirah Al-Jundi has been confirmed to replace her.

There are three state constituencies within the federal constituency of Sepang in which PH component parties have a satisfactory majority. These are N54 Tanjong Sepat, N55 Dengkil, and N56 Sungai Pelek.

Amanah is viewed by some as the party that will fill in the gap left by Bersatu, as well as the party that can counter PAS’ narrative on Islam.

A number of Amanah leaders expressed during fieldwork interviews that all five of the above-mentioned seats are safe seats for the party. Given the confidence that they have in these seats, Amanah hopes to hold on to the 11 seats that they have, out of the 54 that they will be contesting in. It is worth noting that Amanah is viewed by some as the party that will fill in the gap left by Bersatu, as well as the party that can counter PAS’ narrative on Islam.

It is crucial to note that these are multi-ethnic constituencies. For example, Pulai comprises of 39.4 per cent Chinese voters and 10.5 per cent Indian voters. Kota Raja has 27.8 per cent Chinese voters and 28.1 per cent Indian voters. Similarly, Sepang has 20.2 per cent Chinese voters and 14.2 per cent Indian voters.


In contrast to the five safe seats, Amanah’s remaining six seats are more volatile and vulnerable in a multi-cornered fight. This is due to several factors. Firstly, these constituencies comprise of a smaller number of non-Malay voters. Secondly, PAS or UMNO has had a persistent strong presence in these constituencies. Thirdly, UMNO or PN may be fielding strategically strong candidates for these seats.

These seats are:

  1. Pokok Sena P008

The incumbent MP is Mahfuz Omar, who is one of Amanah’s vice presidents and who served as Deputy Minister of Human Resources during PH’s administration. Of the five times that he had competed in this seat, he won three times.

Pokok Sena constituency was established in 1995, in the year of GE09. That year saw Mahfuz losing to BN, with the former receiving 20,667 votes and UMNO candidate Wan Hanafiah Wan Mat Saman winning 25,285 votes.

In GE10 in 1999, Mahfuz won the seat, getting 27,466 against Wan Hanafiah’s 23,829 votes. BN successfully wrested back Pokok Sena in GE11, with Mahfuz attracting only 22,440 votes against UMNO’s Abdul Rahman Ibrahim’s 29,740 votes.

Mahfuz reclaimed the seat in GE12 in 2008, by winning 29,6g87 votes against Abdul Rahman’s 23,956 votes. He retained the seat in GE13 with 36,198 votes against UMNO’s Shahlan Ismail’s 32,263 votes. His winning streak continued in GE14, when he extended the winning margin to 5,558 with 28,959 votes against PAS (23,401 votes) and UMNO (18,390 votes).

From these numbers, it is evident that Mahfuz has been ahead in these fights by approximately three to five thousand votes, whether they are one-on-one or multi-cornered fights. In the case of Pokok Sena, this difference in the number of votes may be attributed to the fact that two of its state constituencies, N009 Bukit Lada and N10 Bukit Pinang are led by PAS but only with a small margin. Furthermore, his ability to retain Pokok Sena in 2018 could have been due to the fact that DAP won N11 Derga in 2013 and 2018. Whatever the case, this seat is considered volatile, and there is no certainty that Mahfuz will retain it if he runs in GE15.

2. Parit Buntar P057

The incumbent MP of this seat is Mujahid Yusof Rawa, another of Amanah’s vice presidents. He served as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Religious Affairs during PH’s administration. Prior to him, the seat was occupied by PAS’ Hasan Mohamed Ali after GE10, and was reclaimed by UMNO in GE11. Mujahid took the seat in GE12 in 2008 with a majority of 7,551, winning 21,221 votes against UMNO’s Abdul Rahman Suliman’s 13,670 votes.

Supporters of Amanah's Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa
Supporters of Amanah’s Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa heading to the nomination centre in November 2022. (Photo: Parti Amanah Negara / Facebook)

In GE13, his majority rose to 8,476 when he gained 26,015 votes against UMNO’s Mua’amar Ghadafi Jamal Jamaludin, who received 17,539 votes. In GE14 in 2018, Mujahid won with a majority of 3,098, gaining 16,753 votes against UMNO’s Abdul Puhat Mat Nayan’s 13,655 votes and PAS’ Ahmad Azhar Haji Sharin’s 12,312 votes. One possible reason Mujahid managed to retain this seat was because two state constituencies under Parit Buntar were led by PH component parties. These are N09 Kuala Kurau which has been held by PKR since 2008, and N08 Titi Serong which Amanah won in 2018, although only with a majority of 140. However, in 2020, their representative Hasnul Zulkarnain Abd Munaim left Amanah to join Bersatu, and in 2021 declared himself an independent candidate.

Parit Buntar is considered an unsafe seat as Titi Serong voters might be the deciding factor in a multi-cornered fight. Nevertheless, Mujahid may retain Parit Buntar, and the likelihood of this may increase since PH appears determined to gain the parliamentary upper hand in the state of Perak, with Anwar Ibrahim running in Tambun.

3. Lumut P074

The existing MP is Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli, who is currently Amanah’s secretary-general and who served as Deputy Minister of Entrepreneur Development during PH’s administration.

In GE14, Mohd Hatta defeated UMNO’s Zambry Abd Kadir (who was Chief Minister of Perak) with a slim majority of 400 votes. Mohd Hatta received 21,955 votes while Zambry got 21,555 votes. PAS’ Mohd Zamri Ibrahim received 10,135 votes.

Lumut is a highly contested seat. In GE13, PKR’s Mohamad Imran Abd Hamid won this seat with 40,308 votes against BN’s Kong Cho Ha who gained 32,140 votes. In GE12, Kong won with 25,698 votes, defeating PKR’s Suwardi Sapuan who had 25,400 votes. This gave Kong a slim majority of 298 votes.

Nevertheless, there are a number of factors that may give the advantage to Hatta in this seat. Firstly, Hatta is born in Sitiawan, near Lumut. Secondly, Lumut is home to the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) military base. Data from GE14 show that there were 11,223 early voters who were RMN personnel. Thus, given the recent controversy concerning the RM9.13 billion Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) contract which involves the RMN, Boustead Naval Shipyard Sdn Bhd (BNS), and the current government, Hatta might stand to retain the seat. Thirdly, one of the state constituencies under Lumut, N51 Pasir Panjang, is occupied by a well-known local, Yahaya bin Mat Nor. He won the seat in 2018 with 14,123 votes against UMNO’s Rashidi Ibrahim who got 12,904 votes and PAS’ Rohawati Abidin who got 7,795 votes.

The challenge for Hatta will be Zambry Abd Kadir, should the latter decide to run again. It should be noted that Zambry has a launching pad as he also occupies N52 Pangkor, which is within the Lumut parliamentary seat. He won that state seat with a majority vote of 1,626, winning 8,378 votes against PAS’ Zainal Abidin Saad’s 3,638 votes and Bersatu’s Nordin Ahmad Ismail’s 6,752 votes. While Bersatu and PAS are now in the same camp and will field only one candidate among them, Hatta might instead have to face an additional candidate from Pejuang.

4. Temerloh P088

In GE14, 70-year-old Mohd Anuar Tahir, one of Amanah’s founding members and former secretary-general, was parachuted to run in Temerloh. The constituency had been considered an UMNO fortress, but in GE13, Nasrudin Hassan from PAS had defeated Saifuddin Abdullah with a small majority of 1,070 votes.

Although an unknown to the constituents, Mohd Anuar managed to get 23,998 votes to win the seat with a majority of 1,904 votes. UMNO’s Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin had received 22,094 votes while PAS’ Md Jusoh Darus got 14,734 votes. Mohd Anuar was Deputy Minister of Works during PH’s administration.

However, there are concerns about Amanah’s ability to defend the seat. At least one state constituency in Temerloh has been comfortably won by UMNO. N31 Lanchang is traditionally an UMNO seat; it is now represented by Mohd Sharkar Shamsudin, who is part of the Pahang State Executive Council. This may give him greater visibility. N32 Kuala Semantan was previously held by PAS but was snatched by UMNO in GE14 with a majority of 474 votes.

Amanah is fielding Mohd Hasbie Muda, its current Youth Chief. Hasbie can retain this seat if voters in the state constituency of N30 Mentakab continue to throw their support behind DAP, as they did in GE14. Mentakab has a large number of Chinese voters and this may help Amanah retain Temerloh if they field a strong candidate there. It is expected that concurrent state elections to be held in Pahang during GE15 will help to boost support for the parliamentary candidates. For example, the thrill of a fight between heavyweights Young Syefura Othman of DAP and Liow Tiong Lai of BN in Bentong P089 may spill over to seats in which Amanah will be contesting, including Temerloh, Bentong’s neighbouring constituency.

5. Kuala Selangor P096

The MP of this seat is Dzulkefly Ahmad, a highly-praised 66-year-old toxicologist who served as the Minister of Health during PH’s administration.

Dzulkefly first captured the seat with a slim majority of 862 votes in GE12 in 2008, when he was a member of PAS. He won 18,796 votes against UMNO’s Jahaya Ibrahim’s 17,934 votes. UMNO recaptured the seat in GE13, when Irmohizam Ibrahim won 27,500 votes, just 460 more than Dzulkefly’s 27,040 votes.

Dzulkefly reversed this result in GE14 and won 29,842 votes against Irmohizam’s 21,344 votes and PAS’ Haji Fakaruddin’s 8,535 votes. This time, he won with a larger majority of 8,498 votes. Three state constituencies under Kuala Selangor were grabbed by PH. PKR won N10 Bukit Melawati and N11 Ijok, while Bersatu won N12 Jeram.

However, despite that success, it will be an uphill battle for an Amanah candidate to win this seat in GE15. Rumour has it that UMNO plans to field PN’s Minister of Finance, Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, there. This spells additional trouble for competing candidates, especially since Zafrul is known to be close to the monarch.

6. Tampin P133

The current MP of Tampin is Dr Hasan Bahrom, an Islamic scholar who joined Amanah in 2016. In GE14, Hasan received 22,435 votes against UMNO’s Shaziman Abu Mansor who received 21,433 votes and PAS’ Abdul Halim Abu Bakar who received 4,958 votes. Prior to Amanah’s victory, Shaziman had held this seat since GE10 in 1999. For GE15, Muhammad Faiz Fadzil, member of Penang State Legislative Assembly for Permatang Pasir will be running here.

History illustrates Tampin as a safe seat for UMNO. In GE11, Shaziman won the seat with 23,936 votes against PAS’ Abdul Razakek Abdul Rahim who received only 5,852 votes. This was a large majority of 18,084 votes. In GE13, Shaziman won 29,390 votes against Abdul Razakek’s 18,228 votes. It was again a large majority, this time of 11,162 votes.

There are currently three state constituencies under Tampin. These are N34 Gemas which has traditionally been occupied by UMNO with a large majority; N35 Gemencheh which was won in GE14 by Bersatu’s Saiful Adly Abd Wahab with a slim majority of 351 votes; and N36 Repah which was won by DAP’s Veerapan Superamaniam with a majority of 4,758 votes. DAP’s success in this seat in GE14 could be attributed to the significant number of non-Malay voters there. It is the only safe seat for PH in Tampin.

A win for Amanah is not impossible as there is a large number of non-Malay voters in these seats. For example, Lumut P074 comprises of 14.8 per cent Chinese voters and 11.4 percent Indian voters; Pokok Sena P008 has 15.3 per cent Chinese voters, and 2.4 per cent Indian voters; Parit Buntar P057 has 25.6 per cent Chinese voters and 4.7 per cent Indian voters; while Kuala Selangor P096 has 12.8 per cent Chinese voters and 20.9 per cent Indian voters.


There are other must-watch seats where strong Amanah candidates have a chance. These have either historically been held by a current Amanah leader when they were in PAS, or may be up for grabs due to several uncertainties. Such seats include Kuala Terengganu P036 and Kota Bharu P021 which were contested in GE14 by Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah Raja Ahmad and Husam Musa respectively. Raja Kamarul will make another attempt, while in Kota Bharu, Hafidzah Mustakim, a well-known medical doctor is the flag bearer.

Adly Zahari, who was Chief Minister of Melaka from May 2018 to March 2020 may have a chance in the state, and is regarded as a well-performing leader. He will be contesting in Alor Gajah P135 which is currently held by Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof of Bersatu.

Another possible seat for Amanah to grab is Tasik Gelugor P042 in Penang. This seat was won by UMNO’s Shabudin Yahya in GE14 with a small majority of 81 votes. He won 18,547 votes against Bersatu’s Marzuki Yahya who had 18,466 votes and PAS’ Rizal Hafiz Roslan who gained 14,891 votes. Amanah is assigning Nik Abdul Razak

 Nik Md Ridzuan, Amanah Deputy Youth Chief to contest here.

Amanah is also strategising to field top party leaders such as Khalid Samad to wrestle Titiwangsa P119 away from Bersatu. This will be an interesting seat to watch as UMNO may once again field Johari bin Abdul Ghani, an MP who held the seat for only one term before he was defeated in GE14. Titiwangsa has historically been a highly-contested seat which saw battles between UMNO and PAS. In GE13, Johari defeated PAS here with a small majority of 866 votes, while in GE12, as a progressive female leader from PAS, Lo’Lo’ Mohamad Ghazali had unexpectedly won the seat.


As noted earlier, Wan Saiful Wan Jan surmised that Amanah was capable of winning in multi-ethnic constituencies which comprise of at least 30-45 per cent Chinese voters. He further noted that in the context of Johor, Amanah would need a large sum of Malay votes in order to gain a few seats in GE14. He was proven right when Amanah won nine out of the 12 seats that they contested in Johor’s state election. They were also victorious at the parliamentary level, winning Pulai with an overwhelming majority.

However, the Malay vote continues to be crucial and will see an even greater split in GE15. In 2018, “the ethnic Malay vote was split between PH (25%-30%), BN (35%-40%) and PAS (30%-33%).” However, this year, the vote will be split between UMNO, PH, PN, and GTA. This might make things more difficult for Amanah, as GTA’s presence could cause further splits in votes. Nevertheless, if non-Malay voters continue to reject the Malay elite as represented by UMNO, Bersatu and PAS the way they did in 2018, Amanah could survive GE15 comfortably, albeit with reduced seats.

Apart from the ethnic composition of constituencies, another factor that may affect the outcome of GE15 is Undi18 which lowers the voting age from 21 to 18. In GE14, young voters made up 41% of the total voter base, and they played no small role in toppling the BN government. Thus, the addition of more young voters to the voter base may lead to unexpected outcomes.

Amanah will be contesting in as many as 54 seats in GE15. Their work seems cut out for them, in fact, more than half of these seats, being located in the Malay heartland, will be tough-going.

This is an adapted version of ISEAS Perspective 2022/107 published on 4 November 2022. The paper and its references can be accessed at this link.

Mohd Faizal Musa was a Visiting Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, and is an Associate at Weatherhead Centre Harvard University working on Global Shia Diaspora.