PETALING JAYA: An analyst has voiced disagreement with an Umno Supreme Council member who proposed that Barisan Nasional (BN) do away with promoting a poster boy in the campaign for the next general election.
Commenting on a Facebook post by Puad Zarkashi, Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara said it was important for BN to inform voters of its candidate for prime minister.
Voters would not want any surprises should the coalition emerge victorious in GE15, he told FMT.
James Chin of the University of Tasmania’s Asia Institute agreed, saying BN would not be able to avoid naming its prime minister-designate as this was what voters expected.
In his posting, Puad said a poster boy was “no longer relevant” to Umno.
He said it was better to use the BN logo since inanimate objects would be difficult to slander.
Without naming anyone, Puad also said poster boys should not be “vain and weak”.
Last April, the Umno Supreme Council agreed to name Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob as its poster boy for GE15.
Azmi said Puad’s remarks could be construed as a subtle message to Ismail, who is an Umno vice-president, that not everything was set in stone.
He also said Puad was probably airing a personal opinion and not that of the Umno leadership.
Another analyst, Azmil Tayeb of Universiti Sains Malaysia, agreed with Puad, saying BN was better off focusing on its agenda rather than on a personality.
He told FMT he did not think it would “help at all” to have a poster boy “since there’s no one in BN and Umno who is very popular with the public and can sell the party to voters”.
Azmil said Umno and BN should instead zero in on promoting the coalition itself, noting that voters were already familiar with its logo.
He also said Ismail needed to strengthen his position in Umno, adding that this had become easy for him with former prime minister Najib Razak in prison and party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi facing corruption charges.