KUALA LUMPUR: An Umno supreme council member has cautioned the unity government not to treat the PAS victory in Kemaman lightly.
Any attempt to downplay the loss by the unity government will ultimately backfire and reveal a state of denial within the unity government parties, said Isham Jalil.
“Kemaman used to be our (Umno) stronghold for years, but the people there no longer have faith in us as they once did.
“PAS seemed to have a steady number of voters who came out and voted for the party.
“People are unsure of our (Umno) direction,” he said in a 10-minute reel on his Facebook page yesterday.
Isham said excessive praise or support for DAP should be stopped.
“Don’t praise DAP so much as it may lead to growing resentment among the Malays towards us (Umno).
“Let them (DAP) fight their own cause.
“Haven’t we learned our lesson? We have gone through a few by-elections.”
Isham lamented that Umno members seemed to be behaving more like DAP than DAP itself.
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 added.
Isham was responding to a previous comment made by Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil, who said the PAS victory in Kemaman was to be expected.
Isham said Fahmi also pointed out that Pakatan Harapan had won by tens of thousands of votes in other seats.
“However, these seats are urban areas where DAP supporters and non-Malays make up the majority of voters.
“People from (the Malay-majority) areas may think that if Pakatan can win by tens of thousands of votes in non-Malay areas, what if they follow suit and give Perikatan Nasional tens of thousands of votes,” Isham said, adding that this comment would harm Umno.
Fahmi, who is the unity government’s spokesman, said the government was not worried about the victory by PAS in Kemaman. He added that it did not come as a surprise as the Islamist party controlled Terengganu.
In the Kemaman by-election on Saturday, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar of PAS secured 64,998 votes, while Barisan Nasional candidate 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 Ahmad Samsuri.