WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN SIDELINED?
Analysts believe that the path forward will be rocky for those who have been sidelined or ousted from UMNO, as there would be complications if they are planning a comeback via other political parties.
Assoc Prof Awang Azman of UM said that Mr Khairy might be able to find his footing in a multiracial party such as Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).
“I doubt they (PKR) will accept him because there will be implications for the unity government,” he said.
Mr Anwar, who helms PKR, has said that the PH coalition will consider the views of its component party leaders before making any decision to accept Mr Khairy as a party member. “(It) is necessary to maintain the principles, peace and unity within the unity government (and so) we will have to give it a lot more consideration,” said the prime minister.
Assoc Prof Awang Azman said that Bersatu was another option that Mr Khairy could consider but its top leaders such as secretary-general Hamzah Zainuddin and deputy president Ahmad Faizal Azumu could feel threatened by the former health minister.
“Someone like Khairy would be seen as a rival and how far would he be accepted in the party? Would he be happy with the post of a committee member?,” he said.
On Monday, Mr Khairy told CNA that he will not appeal against his dismissal from UMNO and was contemplating a political comeback in Selangor during the upcoming state election.
“It’s something that I’m considering, as I’ve made known to the public. I’ve left Negeri Sembilan, I’ve migrated to Selangor, although I came here at the 11th hour to Sungai Buloh, but I think that this is the political epicentre for Malaysia,” he said.
Mr Khairy was a three-term MP for Rembau, Negeri Sembilan before he was moved to contest in the urban constituency of Sungai Buloh in Selangor during GE15. Urban seats are generally considered PH strongholds. Mr Khairy eventually lost in a seven-cornered contest.
The former health minister, however, believed that the political market was saturated right now with quite a number of parties.
“So setting up a new party is an option. Joining an existing party is obviously an option. So I think I would like to take my time and see what makes more sense,” he said, adding that he would not rule out returning to UMNO one day.
Prof Azizuddin of Universiti Sains Malaysia said as compared with Mr Anwar, who was able to lead UMNO politicians out of the party when he was sacked back in 1998, both Mr Khairy and Mr Hishammuddin might not be able to engineer a large exodus.
“I doubt they will be able to pull off something like what Anwar did before and form a new party,” he said.
He believed that PH could accept Mr Khairy but would impose some conditions on him such as placing him under “probation” for a period of time.
For Mr Hishammuddin, who was once vice president of UMNO, his circumstances are more complicated as he has been suspended for six years, Prof Azizuddin noted.
This means that while Mr Hishammuddin can still be a member of the party, he will not be allowed to participate in the party’s elections.
If Mr Hishammuddin leaves UMNO, he will have to vacate the Sembrong seat he won under the party’s ticket and a by-election would be held to elect a new parliamentarian.
Prof Azizzudin said that while Bersatu is one option for Mr Hishammuddin, it would be best for him to appeal to UMNO to shorten his suspension, although he would need to show his commitment to the current leadership.
“In the past, many of those who have been suspended have made appeals to the party and had their suspensions reduced,” he noted.
Assoc Prof Awang Azman of UM said: “If he was a bigger person, he would apologise to the party and stay with them. He has to accept that he made the wrong political moves.”
In response to his suspension, Mr Hishammuddin wrote in a tweet on Jan 28: “Their evil must not make us lose our good.”
On Tuesday, the Sembrong MP wrote in a Facebook post that UMNO has yet to inform him of the reason for his suspension.
As for Mr Noh, his best option would be to join PN, said Assoc Prof Azman Awang. During GE15, Mr Noh was not picked to defend the Tanjong Karang seat in Selangor which he had occupied since 1995.
“This is why he wanted to be sacked from the party. He can play himself as a victim and be considered a hero among his political base,” he said.
Prof Azizuddin said that in a party like Bersatu, especially those who formed the party from its inception, they would not be so keen on accepting UMNO figures for fear of being overtaken by the newcomers.
“Many of them feel disappointed because they have been overtaken by others who joined the party later. They wouldn’t want any disruptions to the party,” he said.
Read the full article here