(Harakah) - Top UMNO leaders continue giving mixed signals about the party's chances of surviving the next general election, which must be called within the next nine months.
Quoted by Malay daily Sinar Harian, UMNO vice president Zahid gave a less optimistic prediction, saying UMNO would likely perform better than 2008 but not as good as 2004, when BN won by a landslide majority.
Zahid viewed the 13th general election to be more challenging for UMNO.
“(BN) not only need to work hard, but to work smart. We must win the people's hearts. Although I am a vice president, my analysis is not biased and I look at it objectively,” said the Defence minister.
On UMNO’s main challenges, Zahid said it was not due to the challenge posed by Pakatan Rakyat, but due to its internal problems which included “being too comfortable”.
Zahid acknowledged that the issue of UMNO's internal problems had been repeatedly raised since Najib Razak took over party leadership in 2009.
He said it was most visible in states which BN lost in 2008, and warned that factionalism would jeopardise UMNO’s chances in election.
“Although the president, deputy president, vice presidents and supreme council members have been ordered to get to the ground, we still find that the issues have become a stigma for UMNO headquarters,” he said.
Zahid also opined that the election would not be held this year.
In 2008, UMNO-BN lost its traditional two-third parliamentary majority for the first time, four years after sweeping 92 percent of the seats.