PETALING JAYA: Former Umno Supreme Council member Noh Omar is more likely to join Perikatan Nasional (PN) than Pakatan Harapan (PH), giving a boost to the opposition coalition in Selangor ahead of the state polls, says an analyst.
Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, however, said Noh’s former comrade, Khairy Jamaluddin, who was also sacked by Umno, is unlikely to join PN.
“Noh was a traditional Umno warlord. His style and beliefs are incompatible with PH’s reformist image, so I don’t see him joining them,” Oh told FMT.
“I think he is more suited for PN and he has built up a power base in Selangor. Being a local warlord, he and his supporters can easily move to a new platform.”
He said Khairy, the former Umno Youth chief, is a “political superstar” loved by voters who are not PN supporters, so joining the coalition led by Bersatu and PAS is not an option.
“He thrives on his progressive and reformist aura. This is incompatible with PN’s regressive and conservative views.
“But while he is popular among the masses who don’t subscribe to PN’s views, he is not fancied by leaders of other parties because he may outshine them. This is Khairy’s dilemma,” he said.
Oh said it is likely that Khairy will have to form a new political platform with other like-minded but similarly sidelined figures.
Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid also said Noh is more likely to join PN.
“He will probably be named Selangor menteri besar should PN be successful in wresting the state from PH,” he told FMT.
As for Khairy, his path is trickier, Fauzi said.
He said although Khairy’s political inclinations are more aligned to PH, joining the coalition may cast a shadow on Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s relationship with Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
He also said despite Khairy’s sacking, it may not be the end of his political journey in Umno.
“I believe Khairy has support among Umno’s younger generation. He can afford to wait until Zahid’s term as Umno president is over.
“Then (he may) stage a comeback once Zahid’s successor realises that Khairy can draw in the votes and can be the future face of Umno,” he said.
Noh and Khairy were sacked by Umno last week for breaching party discipline during the 15th general election.