Najib, Ahmad Zahid remain important figures in Umno

The ‘feel-good’ sentiment from BN’s win in Melaka will carry on to the next state election in Sarawak and then GE15, says analyst

by ASILA JALIL / pic by TMR FILE

FORMER Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Najib Razak (picture; left) and Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (right) will remain as prominent figures and have more influence in the party following Barisan Nasional’s (BN) landslide victory in Melaka polls on Saturday.

University Malaya’s sociopolitical analyst Assoc Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said the “feel-good” sentiment from BN’s win in the state will carry on to the next state election in Sarawak and then the 15th General Election (GE15).

“The feel-good factor from BN’s win in Melaka will have a psychological impact towards the Sarawak state election especially for Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) as well as for Umno during GE15.

“This is because Sarawak’s ruling party, GPS, has more machinery, finance and support compared to the opposition. GPS’s leader is also Sarawak’s chief minister (CM) which is similar to the situation in Melaka,” he told The Malaysian Reserve yesterday.

He said that upcoming elections will see Umno leaders who were previously side-lined, namely Ahmad Zahid, Najib and Umno deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, to have solid grounds in Umno.

“It is expected that they will continue to secure a strong position in Umno and have a say in political bargaining,” said Awang Azman.

Najib has been in the spotlight recently after Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz confirmed that the Cabinet has discussed the former’s application for a plot of land and house valued at RM100 million.

Najib however stated that he “rejected” the offer for the sake of the people.

He is also convicted in court and is embroiled in corruption cases involving the mismanagement of funds in SRC International Sdn Bhd and 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

Meanwhile, Awang Azman added that PKR’s defeat in the state polls were mainly due to flaws in their strategies and formula throughout the election period, and not solely related to the leadership of PKR’s president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“The decision to take on Datuk Seri Idris Haron and Datuk Nor Azman Hassan into Pakatan Harapan (PH) was made collectively with Amanah, DAP and PKR. It was not a sole decision made by Anwar.

“Same goes with the usage of PH’s logo for the polls which was a collective decision although PKR itself disagreed with the logo,” he said.

Idris Haron and Nor Azman were BN’s state assemblymen who withdrew support for Melaka’s CM Umno’s Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali with two other assemblymen from Bersatu and an independent, which paved the way to the state election.

As for Perikatan Nasional (PN), Awang Azman said the coalition will face difficulties if it continues to move solo in GE15.

“Its unpopularity will lead to PAS’s cooperation with Umno for its own political survival,” he added.

The BN coalition won 21 seats in Melaka with Umno securing 18 seats followed by Malaysian Chinese Association and Malaysian Indian Congress with two and one seat respectively.

PH bagged five seats where DAP won four seats and one seat for Amanah while PN won two seats under Bersatu.

PKR which contested under PH as well as PAS and Gerakan under PN did not win any seat.

All three coalitions contested in all 28 seats in Melaka.

Lendu state assemblyman Sulaiman Md Ali was sworn in as the 13th CM of Melaka yesterday.

He received his letter of appointment and took the oaths of office, loyalty and secrecy before Melaka Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Mohd Ali Rustam at Dewan Seri Utama of the Governor’s Office.