PETALING JAYA: Umno’s dismal outing in the state polls could be attributed to three factors - DAP, the party president and Datuk Seri Najib Razak, says Isham Jalil.
According to the Umno supreme council member, these were the three main issues raised by the party grassroots during election campaigns he attended in all six states.
Isham said DAP remained a sensitive subject for Umno grassroots members.
“If we force our grassroots to vote for DAP, they will protest and it is likely that they will abstain from voting or worse, they could vote for Perikatan Nasional.
“This is what happened in the six states,” said Isham.
According to Isham, many Perikatan candidates, who are former PKR leaders, had garnered more votes compared to 2018.
“This means that not just PKR supporters are backing them, but also Umno members.
“This is a big slap to Umno,” said Isham.
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Isham said it is crucial that Umno addresses cooperation issues concerning DAP and the party, otherwise the party would suffer worse defeats in the next general election.
“To chase 500 DAP votes, we lost 5,000 Malay votes in the process. If we lose our grassroots, the party will be dead,” he added.
He said Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi should meet with the party's grassroots to listen to their concerns.
“On the president issue brought up by the grassroots, I’ve answered to the best of my ability.
“I’m asking for the party president to meet with the grassroots himself and have a dialogue with them to iron out their differences and fix the current situation," Isham said.
Meanwhile, Isham also said that Najib’s presence in election campaigns is an advantage to Umno due to the former premier’s popularity.
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Isham said Najib is seeking justice, but emphasised that the former premier had never requested for his ongoing cases to be dropped.
“Najib just wants a fair trial. Until now, he couldn’t get a fair trial because the presiding judges were one-sided, and were directly or indirectly responsible for his cases,” said Isham.
“I’ve also proposed to the government to allow house arrest for Najib while he is going through the pardon process, or retrial, among others,” added Isham.
After the state polls concluded on Aug 12, Umno only won a total of 19 seats, which is one in Kelantan, two in Penang, two in Selangor and 14 seats in Negri Sembilan.