PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said UMNO still has the support of the Malay community in the country despite another poor election outing.
Anwar justified this based on the votes obtained by PAS during the Kemaman by-election in Terengganu on Dec 2.
“When we look at the percentage of votes, there was a decrease for PAS,” he told reporters when met at the National Technical Profession Day at Dewan Damar Sari today (Dec 5).
Anwar also admitted that UMNO did not obtain the votes from its hardcore voters during the by-election.
Anwar said this when asked to comment on UMNO deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan’s remarks yesterday (Nov 4) that the party must be resilient in capturing the Malay support following its devastating loss in Kemaman.
The inability to sway Malay voters back to its fold was among the five “takeaways” from the by-election, Mohamad, popularly known as Tok Mat, said in a Facebook post yesterday (Dec 4).
Anwar did not entirely agree with Mohamad’s takeaway from the by-election and even admitted that UMNO did not obtain the votes from its hardcore voters during the by-election.
However, Anwar acknowledged that Barisan Nasional (BN) had set out to reach the grassroots in Kemaman.
“Yesterday, a meeting was held between the Pakatan Harapan (PH) and UMNO leadership and I am happy to see the party had done its job to reach out to its grassroots for the by-election,” he said.
Separately, Anwar, who is also PH chairman, said having PAS vice-president Datuk Seri Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar in Parliament can help cool down the nation’s political tensions as the Terengganu Menteri Besar is a moderate politician compared to other PAS leaders.
“I congratulate Samsuri for his victory and wish him all the best in carrying out his new duties,” Anwar said when asked to comment on the Kemaman by-election results.
“In terms of benefit for the country, Samsuri can bring some relief to his group because of his image as someone moderate compared to other PAS leaders who are seen to be extreme.
“Hopefully by having him, it can cool down the country’s political tension,” the Tambun MP said.
Samsuri won the Kemaman seat on Saturday (Dec 2) after beating BN’s candidate General (R) Tan Sri Raja Affandi Raja Noor by a 37,220-vote majority.
Samsuri was fielded in Kemaman following the Terengganu Election Court’s annulment of the victory of PAS candidate Che Alias Hamid in the 15th General Election (GE15) last year. – Dec 5, 2023
Main pic credit: The Malaysian Reserve