Voters may want good old days of UMNO, say experts

LILYANA RIZAL
12 Nov 2022 11:51pm
A man holding up a Barisan Nasional party flag.- Bernama Photo
A man holding up a Barisan Nasional party flag.- Bernama Photo
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SHAH ALAM - According to experts, voters may long for the good old days of when the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) under Barisan Nasional (BN) was in power.

When asked about BN’s chances of winning parliamentary seats in Johor, political analyst Dr Jeniri Amir said, “the sentiment on the ground, not just in Johor, but also the whole of Malaysia is for BN.”

Another expert, Dr Azmi Hassan, backed this view and said that the people of Malaysia want a government that not only delivers, but that has the experience to deliver.

The 22-month reign of Pakatan Harapan (PH) in 2018, saw that the manifestos presented while campaigning during the 14th General Election (GE14) were not fulfilled.

Therefore, when the state elections were subsequently held in the peninsula, one by one the state legislative assemblies fell to BN rather than PH.

Dr Jeniri Amir explained that in 2018, there was a strong sentiment against BN due to issues such as 1MDB, the controversy surrounding Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, and the issues surrounding the Goods and Services Tax (GST) imposed by the federal government.

In the most recent Johor state elections in March 2022, BN managed to secure two-thirds of the total state seats.

Dr Jeniri Amir said that in the few months between March and November, the sentiment would be more or less the same.
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Dr Azmi Hassan also predicts that the results for Johor’s parliamentary seats will look similar to that of its state seats.

He said, “The voters are the same, the area will be the same, except much bigger so I guess the result would be reversed meaning that Barisan Nasional will get 18, 19 or 20 parliament seats. The rest will be for Pakatan Harapan with maybe one seat in Pagoh for Perikatan Nasional.”

When asked about what BN brings to the table that voters are looking for, Dr Jeniri Amir credited the 2023 national budget that was tabled in October 2022 which offered many perks and initiatives for Malaysians.

He also said that voters have now matured and know how to assess and evaluate the three governments that have been in power, namely PH, BN and Perikatan Nasional (PN).

He also included a reminder that history is a very important indicator and that the state of Johor has long remained the bastion of the UMNO.

On the other hand, Dr Azmi Hassan said that PH supporters may be feeling discouraged due to the growing perception that the BN will be the one to form the new federal government.

To win the support of the electorate, he said, “PH needs to boost the voters’ confidence by giving the perception that they will form the government. Show confidence that they can have more than 112 seats both in Semenanjung Malaysia and the Borneo Islands.”

However, Dr Jeniri Amir is not optimistic that PH can still turn the tables in the 15th General Election (GE15).

He said, “They can come up will all sorts of manifestos, they can demonise UMNO leaders that UMNO is led by kleptocrats, those who are corrupt and so on, but I don’t think that’s enough to swing the votes.”

He said that he doesn’t mean to say BN will gain an easy win and that, “It’s competitive but at the end of the day, BN is going to have the upper hand.”