Barisan would still have lost if GE15 called after Melaka, Johor polls, says Ismail Sabri

KUALA LUMPUR: Even if GE15 was called right after the Melaka and Johor state elections, Barisan Nasional would not have won, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

"As the prime minister then, I received reports from various agencies which showed that Barisan would not be able to win.

"At the time, the economy was still recovering after being adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The recovery processes should have continued and Parliament should not have been dissolved," said Ismail Sabri.

He said economic recovery efforts had begun to bear fruit, adding that the country's economy grew by 8.7%.

"It was the best in south-east Asia and among the best in the world. But the efforts could not continue due to continuous calls to dissolve Parliament.

"Because we were confident at winning without solid reason, Barisan ended up losing GE15," said Ismail Sabri.

He disagreed with Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan who claimed that the GE15 outcome would have been different for Barisan if Parliament had been dissolved after the Melaka and Johor state polls.

"The truth is that simplistic views without facts and statistics caused Barisan loss in GE15.

"Umno predicted that Barisan could obtain the 112-seat requirement and form the government by itself.

"The question is of there was a comprehensive study done before making such a projection?"asked Ismail Sabri.

He also said state polls could not be used as an indicator for a general election as the nation's political scene was was very dynamic.

"State polls and general elections are two different matters. State polls focus on state issues such as the performance of the state government.

"General elections involve national issues," said Ismail Sabri, adding that public perception towards Barisan at the time was not good.

He said the real reason why Barisan lost GE15 was because Ahmad, who was then Umno secretary-general, had made assumptions without backing it with statistics involving federal support for the coalition.

In a tweet, Ahmad had said that Barisan would not have performed as dismally in GE15 if it had been called soon after the Melaka and Johor state polls last year.

"Timing is very important in politics. Let the past be a reminder," said Ahmad.

On Friday (June 9), suspended Umno member Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said that Ahmad only liked to listen to certain people around him and failed to address concerns of the grassroots.

Tajuddin claimed that many grassroots members were not receptive to Umno's GE15 candidates.

During the Melaka state polls in November 2020 and the Johor state polls in March last year, Barisan managed to secure a two-thirds majority victory in both states.

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