Umno's special briefing might not reflect well on the party - Political analyst

29 Aug 2022 05:17pm
Political analyst Edmund Terence Gomez
Political analyst Edmund Terence Gomez

SHAH ALAM – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob was right to not interfere with the judicial process in former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s case, says political analyst.

Edmund Terence Gomez said the Umno’s special briefing held on Saturday was an act of desperation to find a way to deal with the possibility that they could also be sentenced to jail over their criminal charges.

He said the meeting was seen as an insult to the judiciary.

Gomez said he was supportive of Ismail Sabri’s decision to not intervene in Najib’s case, adding that the special briefing was not a good reflection of the party.

“How can this look good on Umno?,” he told Sinar Daily.

He said those who were unwilling to vote out of frustration from Malaysia’s current political instability might be compelled to vote if Najib’s royal pardon was granted.

“Najib is going to jail, people are excited. Now they are attempting to seek a royal pardon, will they be compelled to vote?.

“I think they will if they see a movement to try and pardon him (Najib) and this will backfire on Umno,” he said.

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He also said Najib’s supporters were still very keen on him because he was a politician who gave out lot of cash aids that were seen as something very lucrative, especially in the eyes of voters in the rural areas.

“People in the rural areas who are poor, worried about subsidies. Ismail Sabri's government has already reduced subsidies and Najib has been a staunch supporter of subsidies because it is a form of cash transfer,” Gomez said.

Thus, he said it was hard to determine which side will be getting support because although the issue of corruption was vital pertaining to the general election, a huge part of it also involved the economy.

On the date of when the 15th General Election (GE15) would be held, Gomez said if it was to happen soon, it might work out well for Umno.

“Umno President Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would have preferred for the election to be held tomorrow as he could still run as a candidate and as party president, he gets to decide who will be contesting in the parliamentary and state seats,” he said.

However, he also pointed out that the current problem that Umno was facing at the moment was that they were divided because tensions between Zahid and Ismail Sabri have been obvious.

He said it might not be possible for Umno to pressure the removal of Ismail Sabri as the Prime Minister because currently, he has been doing well.

“Ismail Sabri is now looking very good, he’s now looking as a reformer. He has introduced the Anti-Party Hopping Bill, the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill and the Political Financing Bill that they have been talking about for more than 10 years,” he said.

He added that the 2023 Budget may also be favouring Ismail Sabri’s government and this will help a lot of people in the rural areas.

“He is doing great, and the budget will help a lot of people in the rural areas. That’s to show how much he’s doing for them,” he said.

He also said young voters will be the ones considered to be the fence-sitters for the upcoming GE15.

This, he said was because it was the federal policies that matters, especially to the youths.

He said he was of the opinion that young voters will realise that it would be in their interest to come out and vote in large numbers mainly to go against corruption as it undermined the economic development.

“We’re already a country with serious limitations on the volume of resources that can be used for economic development and much of it is dissolved by corrupt purposes,” he said.

On Saturday, Umno held a special meeting at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur and among those present were the party’s deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, vice president Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, Umno Wanita chief Datuk Seri Noraini Ahmad, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos, Datuk Seri Bung Mokhtar Radin and other division chiefs and supporters.

Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and their daughter Nooryana Najwa also made an appearance at the event.

The special meeting mainly discussed on the issue of Najib’s incarceration.