Analysts: Surprise move will strengthen Zahid’s hold on party

The abrupt change of the Melaka government leadership, which caught many by surprise, is set to pave the way for a stronger and more stable Umno in the state.

(NST) – Analysts believe that the changing of the chief minister would cement president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s hold on the party and send a message that Umno was strong and dependable.

This would ultimately benefit its federal partners in the coming state elections.

Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research senior fellow Dr Azmi Hassan said Lendu assemblyman Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali’s resignation from the chief minister’s post reflected a “clean-up” within the party by Zahid.

He said speculation was rife that Sulaiman was not part of the “president’s men”.

Azmi said the change in chief minister would do Umno good as those who opposed Zahid had lost out on securing key positions.

“Looking at the situation in Melaka, the president has a tighter grip on the party, thus putting it in a stable position.

“Previously, during the 15th General Election (GE15), there was a lot of internal conflict and sabotage among its members.

“Now, this could send a message to the voters that Umno is strong and dependable.

“It will benefit the party and Pakatan Harapan in the upcoming state elections.”

Political analyst Dr Ainul Adzellie Hasnul, meanwhile, viewed Sulaiman’s resignation as a “due process”.

“The change was not made immediately after GE15 as he was then considered the person best suited to helm the post.

“However, he is no longer the Melaka Umno liaison committee chairman. Traditionally, the chairman will be the chief minister,” he said.

Ainul said the new chief minister would need to be from Umno, as the party held the majority of seats won in the state election.

“However, the next person best suited for the chief minister post was Adly Zahari, the Melaka PH chairman, besides other BN candidates.”