KUALA LUMPUR - The possibility that ex-Umno leaders, including former health minister Khairy Jamaluddin, will join Malaysia’s opposition for upcoming state elections may not be enough to topple Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s administration, according to analysts.
“Overall, it is unlikely to create a large wave of support that could threaten the unity government,” Dr Mazlan Ali, senior lecturer at the Razak Faculty of Technology and Informatics at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia told The Straits Times.
Mr Hafidzi Razali, associate director at risk consultancy Bower Group Asia, said it will prove challenging for the opposition Perikatan Nasional (PN) to sustain its momentum among Malay voters in the semi-rural and rural areas, particularly among youths, and enticing ex-Umno members will do little to change this.
Several Umno leaders, who were purged from the party in January for demanding party president Zahid Hamidi resign over the dismal showing in November’s election, could join the opposition ahead of six state polls expected in July.
Former Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa, who was one of the key leaders sacked or suspended from Malaysia’s longest-ruling party, confirmed that he applied to join long-time rival Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) and claimed that more than 1,000 Umno members are following suit.
Mr Khairy, another casualty of January’s purge, suggested in jest on Thursday that he may form a new political party with former Democratic Action Party MP Ong Kian Ming, while contemplating an offer to join the Malay-centric Bersatu party. “The media will then have their headlines tomorrow,” Mr Khairy was quoted as saying by The Star daily.
“If he (Khairy) is president, I would consider it,” the DAP member said in response.
Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin said last week that Mr Khairy, who is influential and popular among many voters, would be offered a post on the party’s supreme council if he accepted. The PN coalition comprises PAS and Bersatu as its main parties.
Not short of job offers, Mr Khairy’s contract as a radio deejay with Hot FM has also been ext...