Does Umno have a Plan B?

The question is, what is the Plan B if GE15 does not take place this year?

(Sinar Daily) – A political scientist says Umno’s Plan A for the 15th General Election (GE15) is clear that is to hold general elections either in September or November this year after tabling the 2023 Budget.

Wong Chin Huat said Umno believes they can win as the effects of inflation may still be tolerated by the rakyat especially after receiving 2023 Budget goodies.

“Also because the opposition still has no clear direction and the turnout is expected to remain low,” he said in a column in Sinar Harian.

He said the victory would also be a victory for former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his former deputy Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s hope of being released from court charges.

“The question is, what is the Plan B if GE15 does not take place this year? Will Umno continue to urge the prime minister to hold elections in January? If not, then March, June or August 2023? Will Umno in the Kuala Lumpur World Trade Centre and Umno in Putrajaya continue to fight the cold war until GE15 is over?,” he said.

Wong further asked if Umno could bring political stability as investors and market analysts worry over “backstabbing” episodes within Umno party members after GE15.

“That is what happened after Umno landslide victories in 1995 and 2004, until it was punished by voters in 1999 and 2008,” he said.

He further said most in Umno do not believe that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob would be made Umno’s ‘poster boy’ in GE15. “If Ismail Sabri cannot determine the list of Umno parliamentary candidates, then Umno’s victory will only shorten his career as the prime minister.” Traditionally, the list of candidates is decided by party president.

He further said Ismail Sabri may have to follow the footsteps of Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2008 to resign or face the same fate as former Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad who was not appointed to the stop state post despite being the poster boy during state elections.

He added if the amendment to the Umno constitution postpone the party election to six months after the GE15 is rejected, “of course, Ismail Sabri can be challenged, even defeated in the party election before GE15. But, isn’t this against the intention of the Umno General Assembly not to split before the GE?”

Wong said some have speculated that the dismissal of Ismail Sabri’s men such as Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman will continue and Ismail Sabri may look at the Big Tent concept with Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional (PN) joining hands, the idea will be rejected by Umno.

He said the cold war between Umno is likely to continue as the Malay party does not have Plan B. “No matter when GE15 happens, it is impossible for Umno to be seen as bringing in political stability.