KUALA LUMPUR – February 3, 2016: Now that Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir had finally resigned as menteri besar, Kedah Umno needs to groom younger successors so as to win in the next general election.
That was the opinion of several political analysts who viewed “on the fence” voters as having a greater tendency to vote new and younger candidates.
“I did a research on Kedah’s electoral performance in the previous general election and discovered that the main reason why BN (Barisan Nasional) won the state was due to Mukhriz,” said Associate Professor Dr Mohd Azizudin Mohd Sani of Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM).
He said Kedah Umno do not have the luxury to waste any more time because it will be a strenuous work to “pujuk” (appease) Kedahans to continue support the party in mere two years before the next poll..
“Ahmad Bashah (Kedah MB-designate Datuk Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah) is already over 60 years old and now he is practically the face of BN in Kedah.
“Given the fact that he was the one who engineered the Mukhriz’s ouster, I don’t think that the youths in Kedah are keen in voting him if he were to be the MB after the next general election,” said Azizudin.
However, Azizdudin added, the younger successors that Kedah Umno needed to groom should have at least a tertiary education qualification.
“Things are different today…most of the people wouldn’t want to vote for candidates that only pass LCE (Lower Certificate of Education) or SPM (Malaysian Certificate of Examination),” he told The Mole.
Geo-strategist Dr Azmi Hassan of Perdana School and Geospatial Institute had also deemed that given the current situation, “the need for younger candidates is even more pressing in Kedah” for Umno.
He added that Kedah Umno cannot rest on their laurels and the attitude of business as usual in the state’s politics must be discarded.
“Any party that failed to appease Kedahans will not garner any support during the next general election.
“So, Umno need to work extra hard to put behind the MB turmoil and prove to the people that the new state executive line-up is better than its predecessor,” he said.
He however, was rather optimistic over the prospect of Bashah bringing order to the house because unlike Mukhriz, Bashah has the support of almost all Kedah Umno leaders.
“The political turmoil will die down and the people of Kedah will get on with their usual life as before.
“I think the Kedahan’s are quite upset because of internal party matters has been dragging for quite some time and relieved that it’s over now,” Azmi said.
Be that as it may, Dr Chandra Muzaffar of the Global Movement for a Just World (JUST) was not as optimistic as the duo on the ability of Kedah Umno to groom new blood to contest in the next general election.
“Two years is too short of a time,” said Chandra, “If you want to groom someone, it usually takes time and it should be someone who is already in the arena by now.”
However, Chandra added that what Kedah Umno needed to do right now was to ensure that the new MB and state executive line-ups are better than their predecessor.
“Should they be able to do that…I suppose Kedahans can in due time be appeased.
“But if they can’t even do that then winning Kedah in the next general election is going to be very difficult for them,” he said.
Chandra also pointed out that he would not be surprised if Pas win Kedah in the next general election.
“People feel that it is not right to oust him (Mukhriz) because there was no scandal that he was being associated with, and Mukhriz isn’t known to have done something that is terribly wrong.”
Kedah was plunged into disarray two weeks ago when almost all of Kedah Umno division chiefs announced that they have lost confidence in Mukhriz’s leadership as the state party chief and MB.