Umno doesn’t want repeat of GE15 loss in Selangor

Mohd Farhan Darwis

Barisan Nasional grassroots leaders are finding it difficult to explain to supporters why the bloc is working with its long-time nemesis in Pakatan Harapan. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, June 20, 2023.

UMNO grassroots leaders are using the rejection by Malay voters in the past two general elections as motivation to drive its machinery for the Selangor polls.

They said Barisan Nasional (BN), which has long boasted about being a supporter and defender of the Malays, had its image battered in the last two polls.

The leaders said the rise of Perikatan Nasional (PN), which aggressively championed Malay and Muslim rights, put Umno on the back foot.

But Umno grassroots have a new challenge – convincing voters to support the party’s new alliance with long-time nemesis DAP. 

An Umno grassroots leader who declined to be named said it is difficult to explain the party’s cooperation with Amanah, PKR and DAP to supporters.

He worried about being made to represent BN in the state polls.

“Umno grassroots can’t accept the cooperation with DAP, so how can Umno win in Malay areas?”

He said it will not be easy for Umno to win one-on-one against PAS candidates in Malay-majority areas. 

“In Malay areas, where Umno fights with PAS candidates, it’s going to be difficult because elderly voters may not accept our pact with DAP, but some youth may buy our pitch,” he said.

The Malaysian Insight learnt BN will contest 12 out of the 56 Selangor state seats.

In addition to its existing five seats, which includes Semenyih, BN is eyeing the Sungai Air Tawar, Sungai Panjang, Hulu Bernam and Sungai Burung seats. It can also contest the Jeram seat, which is held by Pejuang’s Mohd Shaid Rosli.

Sources declined to reveal the remaining six constituencies in which BN is looking to contest.

“I was informed of that (selection) but I was not informed in an official meeting. It is certain our focus will be on the five main seats in the north of Selangor,” a source said.

Anonymous BN sources say the coalition will contest 12 seats including Sungai Air Tawar, Sungai Panjang, Hulu Bernam and Sungai Burung. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, June 20, 2023.

Selangor Umno Youth chief Mohd Imran Tamrin said although the results of the past two general elections were not in favour of BN or Umno, the party machinery is undeterred. 

“The five seats we won in Selangor (in 2018), we lost all of them.

“But that is not a reason for the BN machinery to give up. It will motivate the BN machinery to work hard in the state polls to win all the seats it contests,” he said. 

BN failed to win any parliamentary seats in the November polls in Selangor, while PN managed to win six. 

The Malay voting trend, which was dubbed the “green wave”, favoured PN.

As for Pakatan Harapan (PH), the coalition managed to defend its 16 parliamentary seats, but lost four to PN.

PN won over Malay voters in northern Selangor areas such as Sabak Bernam and Tanjung Karang, and seized 33 seats.

“I believe the party (Umno), especially at the division level, has evaluated and held a post-mortem regarding the outcome of GE15 and will address its weaknesses,” Imran said. 

He said the party will also focus on getting as many voters as possible to vote for BN and PH.

“BN and PH candidates will be finalised soon. I cannot be sure that I will be renominated,” he said. 

The Selangor assembly will be dissolved on Friday. Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah yesterday signed the proclamation of dissolution following an audience with Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari. 

Penang, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, Terengganu, and Kelantan will also hold polls, likely in August.

The six states are expected to dissolve their assemblies this month. – June 20, 2023.

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