Analysts: Conviction not likely to hinder support

Loyal fans: Najib’s supporters waiting outside the Palace of Justice as the Court of Appeal upheld his conviction in Putrajaya.

PETALING JAYA: Despite the Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold Datuk Seri Najib Razak conviction in the RM42mil SRC International Sdn Bhd case, political analysts feel it will not deflect support towards the former prime minister.

With Najib still having a final avenue of appeal in the Federal Court, Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian feels loyalists would continue to back the Umno president.

“I think the party will continue its support until the Federal Court ruling. He will still remain strong with the supporters,” said the USM senior lecturer of political science.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia political analyst Dr Azmi Hassan said Najib’s supporters would portray him as a victim in this case.

“Najib’s loyal supporters would remain behind him and say he has been denied justice,” said Dr Azmi.

Dr Azmi said the recent Melaka election also saw how support towards Umno had not wavered even though Najib was involved in the party’s campaign there.

Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi of Universiti Malaya said, however, while Najib’s loyalists will back him, there will be factions in Umno who will be reluctant to do so.

“There are those who will support Najib because of his legacy and they will back him regardless of whether he is guilty or not.

“But there is another faction who consist of fence sitters and they will be in a dilemma on whether they should continue supporting Najib, or switch their support towards Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob or Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

“The immediate reaction of politicians in the next few days will show their standing, on whether they will distance themselves from Najib or whether he will still be highly regarded among supporters,” said Dr Awang Azman.

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