PETALING JAYA: Umno’s chances of winning the upcoming Johor polls are unlikely to be affected by the Kuala Lumpur High Court’s order for Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to enter his defence on corruption charges involving Yayasan Akalbudi, say political analysts.
Political analyst Dr Ahmad Atory Hussain said that as far as Umno was concerned, the party president’s case would not impact the state election.
He said this was because Ahmad Zahid was yet to be found guilty.
“Of course those who are pro-Pakatan Harapan are enthusiastic about the news.
“However, the majority of Umno members will still be loyal to the party and its top leaders.
“So long as the court does not find Ahmad Zahid guilty, they will keep supporting him,” he said.
Dr Ahmad added that in the Johor election, the people were more concerned about the party rather than its leaders.
“Moreover, Ahmad Zahid is not contesting in the election,” he said.
Universiti Malaya’s Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said Umno and Barisan Nasional supporters remember that Ahmad Zahid refused to dissolve the party and take Umno MPs to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia during the Pakatan rule.
He said some supporters also believe that Ahmad Zahid’s charges were politically motivated.
He added that Johor could see a repeat of what happened in Melaka.
“In the Melaka election, we saw that even though there were parties that harped on the ‘court cluster’ issue involving Ahmad Zahid and also Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, Barisan still received the support.
“They even won big,” he added.
Constitutional law lecturer and political observer Prof Dr Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmood, meanwhile, said the Johor election would be a testing ground for Ahmad Zahid’s leadership.
He said Ahmad Zahid had been subjected to prosecution for many months now.
“He continued to receive unwavering support from Umno grassroots even when he was first charged.
“I believe that even if he is convicted he will still have the backing of the grassroots. We have seen the same happening to Najib,” he said.
Prof Nik Ahmad Kamal said as far as politics was concerned, the grassroots especially those in Johor, still support him despite him being called to defend himself in court.
“I believe the Johor state assembly dissolution is part of the wider strategy to provide Ahmad Zahid’s team with an edge over other teams.
“The fact that Ahmad Zahid has strong grassroots support and Umno is with him as its leader, that is a formidable factor for Umno’s chances of coming out tops in the Johor election,” he said.