No need to praise DAP too much, otherwise support for Umno will wane, warns Isham Jalil

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 ― Umno Supreme Council member Isham Jalil warned that support for Umno will wane if the party continues to demand party members to endorse DAP candidates in the upcoming six state elections, Free Malaysia Today reported today.

He said that, “the heart of Umno's grassroots still needs to be preserved”, despite the party's participation in the unity government with DAP.

“We cannot lose our voter base. (If) we want to win new votes but lose our existing ones, we're finished.

“There's no need to praise DAP too much or else our supporters will be discouraged, and that will be a problem for us. So, stop telling our people to vote for DAP,” he was quoted saying in a Facebook Live broadcast today.

The former Umno information chief expressed the significance of the state polls in determining the level of support the federal government has.

“So, if this experiment fails, what will happen next? If we have a problem, the unity government will have a problem, too.

“The distribution of seats among parties in the unity government, especially between the PH components and Umno, will go a long way in proving their sincerity,” he was quoted as saying, referring to Pakatan Harapan.

Although Isham expressed confidence in DAP's ability to secure seats in their strongholds without relying on Umno voters, he was concerned about the voter turnout in Malay-majority constituencies typically targeted by Umno, PKR, and Amanah.

“When we used to be against PH in the past, voters who didn't like PH voted for us. But now that we're with PH, will Malay voters want to vote for us or not?” he was quoted as saying.

Last week, it was reported that former Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan had urged the party's voters to vote not in the name of the party or DAP, but “in the name of the unity government”, citing the decree of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also reportedly acknowledged that it would not be an easy task to change the deep-seated negative perceptions and animosity towards DAP that had been instilled in Umno members by the party leadership over the years.

However, it was reported that he was willing to meet and explain the cooperation between the rival parties to his party members.