Barisan Nasional leaders say they may lose out in the election if internal sabotage is not contained.
And this warning to the Barisan Nasional comes from non-other than Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia.
The paper quoting party leaders says sabotage is a very clear and present danger and could lead to the BN losing more seats than in 2008.
At the Umno’s 66th anniversary two weeks ago, Najib put on a brave face and touched on the gathering as a show of support that the party is not divided and that they are ready to face the elections.
Some 60,000 members had congregated at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium here in the gathering which party sources said was meant as a “loyalty test” apart from propping up the party’s machinery and mobilisation strength.
Najib joked that the display of unity gave him enough confidence to hold elections sooner than expected.
But Abdul Aziz Rahman, the president of the former BN Lawmakers Council, said the threat of internal sabotages is real and the ruling coalition could see itself battered if the problem is not contained.
“This election is momentous time for BN. If party members are not united then we will see the black episode (of 2008) repeating itself.
“BN’s victory will depend on the unity of all members and component party members,” he was quoted by Utusan Malaysia today.
Internal power tussle was one of the major factors that led to the ruling coalition’s loss of its customary two-thirds Parliamentary majority in the 12th general election. It also lost five states to the opposition.
Then premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s effort to consolidate his position by replacing majority of the candidates with his men, sidelining powerful “warlords” along the way, saw Umno members protesting by voting for the opposition.
Abdul Aziz said BN could see a similar recurrence where candidates left out by Najib may sabotage the ruling coalition’s campaign .
Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had warned yesterday that the prospect of a repeat is there.
BN may not only see a repeat but could also see more states falling into opposition hands, Zahid added. The Defence Minister also did not discount the possibility of losing federal power.
Meanwhile Umno veteran Aziz Shamsuddin told Utusan Malaysia that the party leadership must be quick to act and contain the division.
A repeat of 2008 will see Najib’s future in Umno hanging by a thread, observers predict.
He is now facing stiff opposition to his economic liberalisation plans and political reforms from within his own party.