A former Umno minister today asked if it was the right move for Datuk Seri Najib Razak to be involved in by-election campaigns seeing as to how he had legal battles pending.
Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani in jotting down his thoughts shared that the recently concluded Sungai Kandis by-election was an important one since it was the first since the 14th General Election (GE14).
“What is a question mark is how far did the issues we raised managed to attract the attention of Sungai Kandis voters, specifically the Malay voters that is the majority there, making up more than 70 per cent,” Johari said.
He wondered if the Malays no longer cared if a government fulfilled their election manifestos, which served as the main agenda in Barisan Nasional’s (BN) campaign, or could it be that they were more interested to see a credible government, free from corruption and abuse of power issues.
“Perhaps news on the seizure of cash and jewellery at the residence of the former prime minister strengthened the perception of corruption and power abuse that has been planted in their hearts and minds all this while?
“Eventhough explanations have been given, perhaps the perception of corruption and power abuse is still strong and the explanations were insufficient to convince voters to give their votes to Umno,” Johari said.
Johari asked if the strategy of letting former Prime Minister and former Umno president Najib take centre stage during the campaign was a wise one.
“Should Umno rest Datuk Seri Najib from participating in future by-election campaigns? We need to remember that Umno is not only campaigning for its members, but to voters in Sungai Kandis where the issue of perception determines a person winning or losing,” he added.
To those who may reply by saying that Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng too was facing a court case, Johari said he believed Umno did not have to emulate DAP.
“Umno has its own benchmark and we need to make this as a fresh start to create a new benchmark where Umno prioritises leaders with integrity and credibility as its main agenda in its struggles,” Johari who is Titiwangsa Umno division chief said.
He also remarked that Umno needed to overcome the problem of perception when it came to integrity and credibility if it wanted to remain relevant.