Umno AGM 'not convincing enough' to woo Malays to unity govt, says analyst

12 Jun 2023 07:00am

SHAH ALAM - Umno AGM may not be convincing enough to attract and persuade Malays to support the Unity government, say analyst.

In saying this, International Islamic University Malaysia associate professor of political Science Dr Syaza Shukri said this was due to the confusion early last week.

"If anything, it has led to some confusion on whether the Malays should support UMNO-PH or make it conditional on DAP's apology and the release of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

"I think the majority of Malays are still sceptical of the Unity government because they would prefer a Malay-first government, whatever that means to them," she said.

She said the party is committed to the unity government and PH, but how much that has affected the Malays is unclear.

"I think in terms of votes, it would still be status quo. Umno supporters will continue supporting them, but I doubt more Malays are convinced.

"PH supporters might vote for Umno if that’s the candidate representing the unity government," she said.

Meanwhile, Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research senior fellow Dr Azmi Hassan said the general assembly was not very successful in persuading Umno members to vote for Pakatan Harapan (PH) or DAP candidates for the upcoming state election.

He said one thing is sure: Umno needs to demonstrate that they are stronger than DAP, even though they are part of the same government.

"When Umno is stronger, they could go against DAP. I think that’s the way to show or convince Umno members to vote for DAP.

"Umno youth chief Dr Muhamad Akmal Saleh had demanded an apology from DAP. "This strategy used by Umno is not right. They should have demonstrated that they are stronger, but during the assembly they did not do that," he said.

Pacific Research Center principal adviser Oh Ei Sun also added they did the best they could under unfavourable circumstances, where the mainstream political narrative has shifted from that of a racialist to a more religious nature, in which PAS holds the upper hand.

"Handshake or not, it does not appear that they could match PAS in religious persuasion, which has become the mainstream political narrative nowadays.

"It really does not quite matter, as they are not addressing the crux of the issue—the appeal to a more religiously yearning Malay majority," he said.

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