WINNING only 19 out of 108 seats it contested, Umno must restructure its organisation if it wants to stay relevant.
Meantime, the “green wave” which carried Perikatan Nasional to win 74 parliamentary seats in the 2022 general election continued its momentum in the state legislative elections on Saturday.
Bersatu and PAS were able to strengthen their position in Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah at the expense of both Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional, especially BN lynchpin Umno.
Based on the official and unofficial results so far, it is clear that the “green wave” is getting stronger, having also swept through the west coast states of Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.
While the unity coalition managed to retain control of the three states, PN made inroads, especially in Malay areas in Penang and Selangor, that for many years had been dominated by PH and BN.
For PH-BN, the consolation is that, for the most part, PN was kept out of Negeri Sembilan, where the opposition coalition only won three seats. However it put up a strong fight, especially against Umno candidates, in other seats.
Before the elections, some PN leaders, including PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, had predicted that victory for the opposition coalition could lead to a change of federal government.
Although PH and BN leaders have rejected such claims, political observers expect repercussions from Umno’s poor performance, which will be felt within the party and also by extension the Anwar Ibrahim-led unity coalition.
However, given Anwar’s majority in parliament, the anti-hopping law and the fact that Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is in the driver’s seat in Umno and BN, any changes at the federal level are unlikely to happen overnight.
PN’s strong performance in today’s polls will paper over the issues the coalition faced before the polls, including claims of a “cartel” in Bersatu, unhappiness over candidacies and a lack of support from non-Malays.
Perhaps one of the biggest issues it will need to contend with before the next general election is the supposed dominance of PAS over Bersatu, as claimed by former Bersatu Supreme Council member Faiz Na’aman.
PAS already has more MPs than its partner, and have also entrenched themselves further in Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.
How the election results will change the dynamics in PN remains to be seen but for now, the opposition coalition can afford to put its internal issues on the back burner. – FMT