Zahid: Why should I be the only one to resign over Umno’s GE15 drubbing?

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he should not be the only one expected to take the fall for Umno’s loss during the 15th general election (GE15).

He said that former prime minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob should also be held accountable for Umno’s worst election result. The latter was Umno’s “poster boy” for GE15 as well as the party’s prime ministerial candidate if it had won.

The Bagan MP also claimed that Umno failed to garner the youth vote due to internal sabotage.

“After GE15 no one wanted to be held responsible, I was pressured to resign but why me alone? What about our poster boy (Ismail Sabri), the state liaison chiefs, some of the division and wing heads? It was everyone’s responsibility.

“So stop the blame game. Do some soul searching and conduct postmortems on why we performed badly. In GE15 we partly lost in getting youth votes. We fielded almost 80 per cent new and young candidates but we failed due to some factors such as internal sabotaging,” he told The Star in an interview published today.

Analysts have said that Umno’s disastrous performance in GE15 was a result of too much friction within the party.

This instability also indirectly contributed to Malay voters shifting their support to PAS in droves.

Since then, Perikatan Nasional, which is the coalition that PAS belongs to, has been building up on narratives that could attract the hearts and minds of Malays by portraying itself as a conservative front.

In explaining further why Barisan Nasional lost GE15, Zahid alluded to a lack of funding as a result of the coalition’s accounts being frozen, meaning they could not liquidate their assets.

“In any election, funding is much needed, BN especially Umno has very little funding, Our opponents used this weakness to use a very heavy rein, probably a week before voting day, on us. They used whatever resources to fish for and reward the young voters.

“The voters took the last-minute rewards (allegedly given by the other parties) as a factor to determine which candidate they would vote for,” he said.

During Umno’s annual general assembly yesterday, delegates voted to bar contests for the party’s top two posts in the upcoming elections. Zahid said the party will now focus on the upcoming state elections.

BN only managed to secure 30 parliamentary seats in the GE15 out of the 178 it contested.