Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Little confidence in Zahid's bid to resurrect Selangor Umno through Putrajaya's appointments

Little confidence in Zahid's bid to resurrect Selangor Umno through Putrajaya's appointments

Former party men say Umno cannot make a comeback, whether in urban or rural areas.

April 15, 2024

Umno was booted out from Selangor in the last polls, leaving the party with only two state seats.

Selangor Umno's move to vacate the posts of village chiefs and decline a role in town and city councils in the state has been seen as an admission of the reality facing the party since its recent electoral defeats – that it no longer holds sway in either rural or urban areas.

The party's state chapter recently said that it would vacate 75 village head positions under the Village Community Management Council (MPKK), aiming to instead fill the posts under the Madani Village Community (KDM) to be created in each village.

MPKK, which is under the jurisdiction of the state government, was rebranded from the Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) in 2018, during the time of the first Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration under Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Meanwhile, KDM will come under the rural and regional development ministry helmed by Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Isham Jalil, among the Umno leaders given the boot after the party embraced PH two years ago, reminded it of its waning influence in rural areas.

"Umno under Zahid is losing influence everywhere, not only in urban areas but now in the rural areas, too, which used to be its stronghold," the former Umno Supreme Council member told MalaysiaNow.

He acknowledged that there were those "who still like Umno".

"But they don't like Zahid and his minions."

Umno's move to vacate the MPKK posts came soon after its decision to decline about 20 local council seats offered by the PH-led Selangor government.

Political observer Azizi Safar said it was an admission of the reality Umno has faced since last year, when it won only two of the 12 seats it contested in the Selangor election.

"This move by Selangor Umno can be interpreted as an acknowledgment by the party that it is no longer relevant in urban areas," said Azizi, a former executive secretary of Penang Barisan Nasional.

A total of six state elections were held last year. Umno won only 30 seats, and was trashed in its former strongholds in the wake of a surge in Malay support for Perikatan Nasional components PAS and Bersatu.

Isham said Zahid's move to create KDM was to allocate positions to his supporters in Umno.

He said this would allow Zahid, who won his Bagan Datuk federal seat in the last general election by only a narrow margin, to remain as Umno president at the 2026 party polls, and lead the party in the next general election by continuing its collaboration with Anwar Ibrahim and DAP.

"The majority of Malays won't support Zahid's formula, and Umno will lose in Malay areas. It will have to depend on DAP for votes. That will be the end of Umno."

Azizi said the formation of KDM as another power structure in rural areas showed an absence of unity at the grassroots and state levels despite the efforts by top leaders to stick together in Putrajaya.

He also said that conflict could be expected between MPKK and KDM.

"Can these two bodies complement each other, or will both compete in the quest to build support for their respective parties? This is not good for the Madani government," said Azizi.

Meanwhile, a former Petaling Jaya councilor said influence in urban areas is patterned on residents' associations. He said that in rural areas, different power structures depend on individual communities.

"Whether Umno has let go of urban power depends on how strong its influence is on these organisations," said Mak Khuin Weng.

"Urban power centres on the city councils that are under PH. The way PH could lose urban power is if it screws up. It's difficult for Umno to challenge this at the moment."

Umno lost power in Selangor in 2008 after its election defeats to Pakatan Rakyat, a loose political alliance between PKR, DAP and PAS.

1 comment:

  1. Stupid to introduce yet another later layer of officlals.