Jo Ghani, Tok Mat could infuse life back into Umno ahead of GE16, experts say

14 Aug 2023 07:05pm
Johari Ghani (left) and Tok Mat
Johari Ghani (left) and Tok Mat

SHAH ALAM - Umno's poor performance and disappointing results in the state election held on August 12 have ignited discussions over who should lead and inject life into the party.

International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) associate professor of political Science Dr Syaza Shukri said “it is very difficult to say who should lead Umno but Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani is a good possible candidate to be Umno's future leader.

"His extensive background and reputation for level-headedness are widely recognised among his peers," she told Sinar Daily.

The Titiwangsa MP was the second finance minister for two years from 2016. Since March 2023, the chartered accountant has been serving as Chairman of the Task Force on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal (1MDB scandal).

Johari is often seen as a level-headed and pragmatic leader due to his practical approach in decision-making and his ability to remain composed even in challenging situations.

He has been known to actively engage with the public through various platforms, including town hall meetings and social media and his accessibility and willingness to connect with the public has won the hearts of many.

Secondly, she said Umno's number two Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan commonly known as ‘Tok Mat’, a relatively non-controversial politician and respected for his ability to develop Seremban to an economic powerhouse during his tenure as the menteri besar from 2004 to 2018.

However, a critical question looms – can he rally sufficient nationwide support?

"That remains uncertain," said Syaza.

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Stating that Umno stands at a crossroads after its worst performance in the recent elections, she said the Malay party needs to chart a decisive course.

"Reforms are a must but they must first determine what form of reforms are required."

She said Umno is experiencing a major backlash but "it is not the end of the party.

"There will always be Malay voters who disagree with Perikatan Nasional and desire an alternative and Umno should provide that alternative.” Syaza added.

Echoing with Dr Syaza’s statements, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) political analyst Dr Md Shukri Shuib urged Umno to form a professional task group to review reasons of defeat and fresh potentials.

"Umno needs to also revisit its relationship with Pakatan Harapan. The party should no longer be tied to constraints by not being able to choose it's candidates," said Syukri.