PETALING JAYA: A think tank says Umno risks taking a step backwards by using its own logo to contest the Sungai Kandis by-election while an independent analyst says Umno should not even contest the seat.
Ilham Centre executive director Hisommudin Bakar said although Sungai Kandis was a Malay-majority seat, the party’s strategy in the by-election should represent the future strategy of the Barisan Nasional.
By contesting under its logo, it would indicate that Umno had lost hope in the BN coalition, he said.
“This will not be a good sign for the party, especially if it wants to face Pakatan Harapan which represents all races. The party might risk its chances of winning although the fight is in a Malay seat,” he told FMT.
The Sungai Kandis state seat in Selangor has been left vacant following the death of its incumbent from PKR, Mat Shuhaimi Shafie, last week.
Bernama reported that Selangor Umno has decided to use the party logo instead of the Barisan Nasional logo for the by-election.
Selangor Umno deputy chairman Mat Nadzari Ahmad Dahlan said the decision was reached at a meeting chaired last night by chairman Noh Omar.
“We met last night and reached a consensus that we field our candidate in the by-election. Selangor Umno also proposed that we use the Umno logo,” he told Bernama.
Mat Nadzari said Selangor Umno left it to the party leadership to determine who would be its candidate in the by-election.
A source close to the Malay party said using the red Umno logo, with the words “Pekembar” written in Malay Jawi calligraphy, could give the party an advantage over the ruling PH in the Malay-majority area.
Hisommudin, however, believed PH would have a better chance of retaining the seat if Umno were to use its own logo, pointing out that it would be hard to win in a multi-racial country banking solely on Malay support.
Although there were only 30% non-Malays in Sungai Kandis, he said, it would be dangerous for Umno to use its logo as these were not rural voters and they likely had a different mindset from that of Umno.
Instead, he said, Umno should strengthen its bond with MCA and MIC and work to become an effective check on the PH government.
Umno’s chance of winning slim
Meanwhile, independent political analyst Kamarul Zaman Yusoff agreed with Hisommudin that it would be risky for Umno to contest the seat on its own as it could further alienate non-Malays who still remained with the BN.
“Moreover, with the many problems plaguing it, Umno has too slim a chance to improve on its performance and it’s likely that its vote will continue to slide.
“If I were the Umno leader, I would just skip this by-election to focus on the party’s rejuvenation process and just pass this seat for PAS to contest.
“It will be more demoralising to Umno if it were to lose again, especially if it loses with a bigger margin,” he said.
Hisommudin, meanwhile, also said there was a possibility of a low turn-out among voters due to the fact that victory by any party would not change anything as the Pakatan Harapan controlled both the state and federal governments.
A low turnout could adversely affect the opposition, he added.
Bernama reported Selangor PKR had sent only one name to the party headquarters as its proposed candidate for the by-election.
Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari said today the Selangor PKR political bureau had met yesterday and considered several names.
“It is left to the headquarters to consider others as well. Selangor reached consensus on one name,” he was quoted as saying after chairing a meeting of the state executive council here.
Earlier, three people had been mentioned as the possible PKR candidates, namely former Kota Anggerik state assemblyman Yaakob Sapari as well as Mohd Radzlan Jalaluddin and Mikael Eskandar.
The by-election will be held on Aug 4 while nomination has been fixed for July 21.
Shuhaimi, a former political secretary to ex-Selangor menteri besar Mohamed Azmin Ali, died of lymphoma.
Sungai Kandis is a Malay-majority seat comprising of 72% Malay voters, 16% Indian voters and 12% Chinese voters.