KUALA LUMPUR: Cautioning that the win by PAS in the recent Kemaman by-election cannot be taken lightly, an Umno supreme council member says downplaying the loss could backfire in the long run.
Isham Jalil said that downplaying the victory in such a manner reflected a state of denial.
"It used to be our seat for years but the people there do not have faith in us like they used to. PAS seems to have stable voters who come out and cast their votes,” he said
"People are unsure of our (Umno) direction. There are times where there is excessive praise or support for DAP, which should be stopped.
“Don’t praise DAP so much until the Malays grow more resentful of us (Umno).
"Let them fight their own cause. Haven’t we learned our lesson?” he added in a 10-minute long video posted on his Facebook page on Tuesday (Dec 5).
He said Umno members seemed to be behaving more like DAP than the actual party (DAP) itself.
"My hope is that the Malay community will unite again and not be divided," he said.
He also said Umno should not be in denial about the defeat in Kemaman.
"If we do not admit our defeat, how can we work on correcting ourselves," he said, referencing comments by Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil,
Fahmi had said that Pakatan Harapan had won with far more votes in other areas.
Isham said while Fahmi shared that Pakatan Harapan had won by tens of thousands of votes in certain areas, these were urban areas where DAP supporters and non-Malays make up the majority.
“People from (the Malay-majority) areas will then think that if Pakatan can win by tens of thousands in non-Malay areas, what if they give Perikatan tens of thousands of votes” he said, adding that this would harm Umno.
Fahmi, who is the unity government's spokesman, said they (unity government) were not worried about PAS' victory in the by-elections.
Fahmi had pointed out that the PAS victory in Kemaman did not come as a surprise when the Islamist party controlled the entire Terengganu state.
In the Kemaman by-election on Saturday (Dec 2), PAS’ Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar secured a total of 64,998 votes while BN candidate Gen (R) Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor, a retired general and former defence forces chief, garnered 27,778 votes.
This meant an overwhelming majority of 37,220 votes for the Terengganu Mentri Besar.