Umno seen as stronger party if GE15 clash with Bersatu happens, but will it matter who wins?

“Umno has to resolve the issue within Umno. It is not about PN. The ‘court cluster’ in Umno is causing break-ups and commotion in Umno. They are the seeds of problems”

(MMO) – The simmering tensions between Umno and Bersatu may eventually lead to a clash in the 15th general elections (GE15) between two of the biggest Malay-based parties presently in terms of parliamentary seats held, with the more established Umno seen as having the higher odds of winning, analysts have said.

But will the results of an election tussle between Umno and Bersatu have much of an effect on Malaysia?

Malay Mail spoke to political observers about whether they felt the two parties were likely to clash head-on in the next general election, and which party would have the bigger advantage and what the results could mean for Malaysia.

Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, senior associate with political and policy risk consultancy Vriens & Partners, noted that either party would end up being “subsumed” by the other eventually as there is “no room for dual roles”, with those from the party that lost expected to join or be absorbed by the winning party.

“Bersatu’s raison d’etre is to replace Umno as the prominent Malay party in peninsula Malaysia, and this purpose has not changed. Bersatu’s tactic of divide and conquer may work the longer polls are delayed, as it seeks to woo leaders and grassroots from Umno.

“But, ultimately, Umno will find a way to survive. It still commands much organic grassroots support and is a ‘trusted’ brand compared to Bersatu. In the context of survival, it will be a tall order for both parties to coexist in the long run — either one will end up swallowing the other whole, eventually,” he told Malay Mail when contacted.

Shazwan believes that a contest between Umno and Bersatu in GE15 is a “possible scenario, given the way things are going”.

While the recent nationwide Emergency declaration has suspended all elections, Shazwan said the status quo of a potential clash between the two parties remains, noting: “Emergency will just delay the inevitable — Umno vs Bersatu down the line.”

In the event of a GE15 clash between the two parties, Shazwan said Umno will have advantage in terms of its ability to organise and mobilise on-the-ground grassroots support, while Bersatu may also have some advantage in terms of the ability to dole out election goodies.

“Umno has the overall advantage for now — grassroots strength, numbers, as well as the experience of navigating through times of crisis,” he said.

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