BN won’t have much say in seat negotiations with PH, says source

Barisan Nasional will not have much say in seat negotiations with Pakatan Harapan in the coming state elections, says a source familiar with the matter.

(FMT) – The source said Umno, the BN linchpin, was a “weakened animal” and was in no position to dictate terms.

“The lesson to be learnt from the general election (GE15) is that the Malays are no longer looking at Umno (as its champion),” said the PH leader, who declined to be named.

PH holds 40 of the 56 seats in the current Selangor state assembly, and also has the support of Barisan Nasional (five seats), Parti Bangsa Malaysia and Warisan.

The source said Umno’s image was damaged by the corruption charges its leaders were facing.

Perikatan Nasional (PN) did well because the Malays who did not want to vote for PH voted for them, the source said.

“So we (PH) know that Umno will do whatever it takes to work with us,” said the source, adding that PH knew Umno was desperate to be on the “winning side”.

“In fact, Umno is now weaker than what they were a few months ago with the sacking and suspension of prominent figures like Khairy Jamaluddin and Shahril Hamdan.”

The source said former Rembau MP Khairy and former Umno information chief Shahril were among the main figures who were able to attract support for the party from the youths.

Khairy and former Selangor Umno chief Noh Omar were sacked for breaching party discipline during GE15.

Shahril was suspended for six years along with former vice-president and Sembrong MP Hishammuddin Hussein, Tebrau Umno division leader Maulizan Bujang and former Jempol MP Salim Sharif.

Meanwhile, an Umno source conceded that the party was weakened, especially with Ahmad Zahid Hamidi still leading it.

The source said Zahid’s decision to force Khairy, a winnable candidate, out of Rembau and drop Noh from BN’s lineup despite his popularity among Tanjong Karang voters led to Umno losing two seats.

“You drop candidates like Noh, who is a people’s favourite, so of course, the grassroots will not be happy about it,” he said, adding that such decisions led to grassroots members sabotaging their own party.

He said Umno’s weakened state meant PH was in a stronger position where seat negotiations were concerned.

This year, PH-controlled states Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan will hold their elections along with PAS-led Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.