Umno risks sabotage if party polls unclean, says analyst

(FMT) – A political scientist says younger members in Umno may rebel and sabotage the party if they think that they do not have a fair chance of contesting for positions in the upcoming party polls.

Wong Chin Huat of Sunway University said disgruntled members were likely to turn against party leaders, even at the expense of the party’s future. They would rather see Umno destroyed, he said.

Stay up-to-date by following FMT’s Telegram channel
Wong said they might join Bersatu or support Perikatan Nasional (PN), and the change of allegiance would signal further erosion of support from Malay voters and could cause Pakatan Harapan (PH) to lose power in one of the three states controlled by the coalition currently.

Defeats in the state elections due to be held within the next six months could subsequently weaken the unity government led by Anwar Ibrahim and may even end it prematurely, Wong said.

On Thursday, an Umno source told FMT that more party members were risking suspension as the battle for the post of Umno Youth chief shapes up ahead of the party election taking place on March 18.

Members in the party’s youth wing aligned to current chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki and those who support his former deputy Shahril Hamdan, who was recently suspended for six years, are already said to be waging battle in an attempt to wrest the post.

Another political analyst, Jeniri Amir, a fellow of the Council of Professors, said young voters may perceive Umno as a party not open to reforms if new leaders could be prevented from emerging using unfair and dirty tactics.

“With new leaders, there would have been new inputs and more concrete solutions to move Umno forward,” he said. “In order to produce new leaders, it has to start from the bottom where they can get the necessary training and exposure needed.”

After facing backlash over the no-contest for the Top 2 positions in the party, Jeniri also said it is only right that the contest for other positions in Umno’s lower hierarchy be conducted as cleanly and fairly as possible.

Nominations for the Umno party elections started on Feb 13 and will continue until Feb 26. The election for Wanita Umno, Youth and Puteri will be held on March 11, while division officials and members of the Supreme Council will be elected on March 18.