Anatomy of a political strategy 

In Umno, the higher you go up the food chain, the wider your circle of supporters and sycophants. Umno will probably lose in the constituencies where these former senior leaders are contesting.

Zefry Dahalan, FMT 

Has Najib erred in his insistence on fielding ‘winnable’ candidates?

Umno president Najib Tun Razak began talking about fielding “winnable candidates” as early as 2010.

The mood in Umno then was to blame Najib’s predecessor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, for Umno’s dramatic losses in the 12th general election. Many said he blundered in his choice of candidates by accepting the proposals of the state Umno chiefs instead of listening to the grassroots.

In most cases, the state Umno chiefs were also the chief executives of their states. It was said that at least in Selangor, Kedah, Perak and Negeri Sembilan, the state chiefs proposed only their loyalists, sidelining potential candidates who were popular at the grassroots.

This resulted in sabotage during the campaign period and at the ballot boxes by supporters of ambitious but now disappointed grassroots leaders.

So Najib decided that he would not necessarily accept every candidate proposed by the state chiefs for the 13th general election, but would listen too to Umno’s divisional leaders.

This approach was soon adopted by – or perhaps imposed upon – the other parties in Barisan Nasional.

This was the genesis of the odd term “winnable candidate”. Never mind that the dictionary definition of “winnable” is “something you can win” or “someone you can win over” – with money, for instance.

Somehow, Najib’s hacks forgot that “winning” as an adjective would not be so double-edged.

Believers in the mystical power of words would certainly claim that this carelessness with language was at least one of the causes of the debacle of April 20, when a record number of 61 Umno members filed their nomination papers as independent candidates for the May 5 general election.

Even to the mind untouched by spiritual beliefs, the lack of precision in language use is indicative of the capabilities of Najib’s planning team or lack thereof.

Umno sacked all 61 rebels immediately, virtually guaranteeing protest votes from their supporters and sympathisers.

The 61 included senior party leaders like Wanita Umno deputy head Kamilia Ibrahim, former deputy minister Mohd Shariff Omar and former Kedah executive councillor Fadzil Hanafi.

Read more at: