Zafrul alone not enough for BN to retake Selangor, analysts say

They say Barisan Nasional might have a chance of recapturing the state but contingent on several other factors.

(MalaysiaNow) – Fourteen years ago, the opposition made history by toppling Barisan Nasional (BN) in Selangor, the richest state in Malaysia.

Its victory at the 2008 general election, clinched under the Pakatan Rakyat banner, was repeated at the 2013 polls and again in 2018, by which time the coalition had morphed into its present iteration of Pakatan Harapan (PH).

But after three terms in the opposition camp, and buoyed by a string of by-election victories over PH in Melaka, Johor and Sarawak, BN is looking to retake the state – a prospect which political observers had dismissed as unlikely.

Rebranding efforts also appear to be underway in Selangor, where Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz was recently appointed as state BN treasurer.

Zafrul, who was previously a member of the Lembah Pantai Umno chapter, is expected to be fielded in Kuala Selangor, a constituency currently held by Amanah’s Dzulkefly Ahmad.

Political analyst Oh Ei Sun said BN could be expected to politicise the issues of floods and electricity supply to win over voters, in addition to exploiting PKR’s weaknesses in the absence of Mohamed Azmin Ali, who left the party in 2020.

Oh, of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said Umno had brought Zafrul to Selangor to instil a fresher and more professional image in the state, where it is targeting the urban and educated voters.

“I think Umno’s senior leadership is still half-hearted as to whether to tout him as the menteri besar candidate, as he obviously does not belong to its mainstream faction,” he added.

He also said that Zafrul, as finance minister, would need to defend 1MDB and former prime minister Najib Razak if he wished to be accepted by the Umno court cluster.

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