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Thursday, March 4, 2021

A Bersatu Wipeout Likely If Umno Storms

 

The critical point is if Bersatu loses its core leaders on election night, does it matter if Bersatu is around?

Praba Ganesan, The Malay Mail Online

Umno holds a lot of the cards and they head to their general assembly in a few weeks’ time. The party members in general are insanely filled with misplaced race hate and dream of an era never to return.

But, in Malaysia, that does not matter.

Deluded or not, they might end Bersatu.

The party president Zahid Hamidi has said as much, as the party president in an alleged letter to the prime minister on February 26 withdrawing support for the government.  Since then, ministers associated with Perikatan Nasional have asked for details.

Umno’s general assembly this month will provide clarity over the issue.

For now, Bersatu’s challenges are myriad.

If Umno decides to compete against Bersatu, and an election manifests this year, much of the following is likely.

Pagoh

Muhyiddin has never lost an election in Johor. A record since 1978. Except he ran all those years as an Umno candidate except the last time.

In 2018, for the first time in his life he ran as an opposition candidate.

He was sacked from Umno in 2016.   According to party president Najib Razak, for cavorting with the enemy. For himself, it was to pursue the truth.

Muhyiddin won in 2018.

Forget the almost 7,000 majority. Focus on him winning only 61 per cent of the 38,879 voters who voted.

It was based on Pakatan Harapan voters offsetting the loss of Umno voters.

If Umno choses to oppose Bersatu, and Pakatan already opposes him, and PAS with the 2,000 plus support choose to back Umno, the seat is very much alive.

And here is the kicker, Pakatan voters with their emotions in a knot having seen their government collapse with Muhyiddin as a main instigator leading to him as a main benefactor will get their day of judgement.

An Umno reproach would mean an electoral defeat and avoids the need for the palace to decide who has a majority. Muhyiddin has been a servant for 43 years, but a defeat recuses him.

Gombak

There was a time Azmin Ali was synonymous with Selangor and Gombak the impregnable seat. So much so, two of his proteges Hilman Idham and Amiruddin Shari hold the state seats of Gombak Setia and Batu Caves under Parliament Gombak P98.

Yet if Umno runs against him, things turn tricky.

Firstly, PKR would place a strong candidate against him, and why not Amiruddin the menteri besar and successful inside Gombak’s Batu Caves since 2008? He has area cred, he heads the state and is Azmin’s friend.

The stars align and Azmin’s fate diminishes further as Umno targets the seat. Since 2008, the Barisan Nasional boss has only won parliamentary seats in the state’s northwest, the Javanese agricultural belt. Gombak presents their best chance back to the state’s centre, why would they pass on it?

A three way shapes up and the signs are ominous for Azmin.

Ampang

Zuraida Kamaruddin was PKR women’s chief before becoming PKR vice-president. During that time, she was Ampang MP.

Thirteen years long, but since her betrayal of PKR in its strongest state, pretenders have been lined up.

Word being Hans Isaac is the person to unseat Zuraida.

PKR’s submission is 49 to Zuraida’s 63 — talking about age — and has wide recognition as an actor in suburban Ampang long before becoming Finas chairman.

Umno will contest, but so will PAS with its traditional presence in Ampang’s Lembah Jaya, unless they strike a deal. Either way, it’s horrible news for the incumbent.

Just like Muhyiddin and Azmin, there’d be a large loss of Pakatan voters for Zuraida and it won’t be a pretty reading for her.

While she is Azmin’s most solid lieutenant, Ampang is going to present the key question: is Zuraida bigger than PKR in Ampang? The answer won’t flatter her.

Tambun

They took his MB position, suggested by many, as a way to punish Bersatu’s temerity to force its hands in Sabah and secure the chief minister position at the expense of Umno.

Ahmad Faizal Azumu or Peja would have thought he had several lives when with the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government, the Umno lads backed him to continue as MB under Perikatan Nasional.

But the ease with which they removed him was to underscore Perak by large remains an Umno rather than a Bersatu state.

Peja is symbolic rather than substantial. If the Bersatu deputy president falls after being unceremoniously dumped as head of a critical Malay state, does Bersatu really carry weight?

Larut

Hamzah Zainuddin was not a household name but has always been linked to the moves to undo Pakatan a year ago.

The Perak parliamentarian is the powerful home minister and the prime minister’s strong ally.

However, he won in 2018 as an Umno candidate before exiting to be a Bersatu member. Umno holds grudges.

While he’s been MP for 13 years, he won every time as Umno candidate.

This time, Umno targets him. He won with 45 per cent of the 36,920 votes, beating the 7,000 plus votes for the Bersatu candidate.

The above is a roundabout way of saying Hamzah is toast. If Umno targets him plus the special hate Pakatan voters have for him, he is certainly on the way out.

Ketereh

Senior Minister does sayonara.

Of the two out of four Bersatu senior ministers, Muhyiddin named Senator Mohd Radzi Mohd Jidin as education minister.

The interest continues.

Because in the 2018 election he only secured 13 per cent of the vote of Ketereh’s 53 thousand plus voters.

He lost to the former Umno secretary-general and fellow Cabinet member Annuar Musa, the federal territories minister.

Important to note Annuar was removed as Umno secretary-general quite recently, with speculation it was due to his loyalty to Muhyiddin over party president Zahid.

So, Radzi can see comfort that Annuar is not Zahid’s man, but would that stop him from being humiliated in Kelantan without Pakatan voters?

The rest and the unwelcome end

Bersatu has to kiss and make up with Umno before the general election.

Muhyiddin’s party has the upper-hand in that they decide for now when elections happen.

However, the longer this stalls under conventions of Malay politics, Umno gets stronger.

While it would be fun to wax about how Umno unseats its traitors in Masjid Tanah and Kuala Pilah, and how it decimates Saifuddin Abdullah in Indera Mahkota dan Rina Harun in Titiwangsa, the critical point is if Bersatu loses its core leaders on election night, does it matter if Bersatu is around?

Bersatu is in a dire situation. They know it. The voters don’t, but I can see Pakatan voters smiling about this predicament.

They get the chance to exact revenge.

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