UMNO will not automatically benefit from multi-party contests in the next general election, said Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, despite results showing that multi-cornered fights in past polls had favoured Barisan Nasional.
Zahid, who is considered Umno’s de facto deputy president, said in certain seats, contests between a BN candidate and more than one opposition party would not necessarily result in a victory for the ruling coalition.
“Umno should not be in a comfort zone when they face more than one opposition candidate. In some areas, it will not benefit us,” he said in his wrap-up speech at the end of the Umno general assembly.
This is the last party assembly before the 14th general election.
Analysts have said in past elections, Umno and the BN coalition have won in multi-cornered fights as votes for the opposition were split.
GE14 is expected to see many multi-cornered fights, especially in Malay-dominated seats, between Umno, and opposition coalitions Pakatan Harapan and Gagasan Sejahtera Rakyat, which is led by PAS, the country’s second-largest Malay party.
In last year’s Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections, Umno candidates won after facing off with PH and PAS candidates.
Zahid warned Umno grassroots leaders to prepare for “S-L-M-A”, or “Surprise Last-Minute Attacks”, by the opposition.
“We have to prepare for SLMA, as it (the opposition) can get support from ‘persuadable voters’ to the point that voters can be ensnared in their games.
“They are issue-centric, while we are agenda-centric.”
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT