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Johari: Umno leaders must shoulder collective responsibility for state election performance

KUALA LUMPUR: All Umno leaders must shoulder the responsibility for Barisan Nasional’s dismal performance in the state elections yesterday.

Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said the election results showed that Malay voters, particularly in Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan, had rejected the party.

“We must accept the fact that the Malays in these states have rejected Umno and we cannot deny this.

“The same goes to developed states like Penang and Selangor, in which we won only two seats respectively, showing that the Malays are rejecting Umno.

“Only in Negri Sembilan did we win 14 seats, but this was three seats fewer than during the 14th General Election (GE14).

“As such, at Umno, the leadership from the top five, Supreme Council members, wing chiefs as well as division chiefs must be responsible for the party’s performance.

“As a vice-president, although for just five months, I was also responsible for the defeat.

“Not just one person but all party leaders including division chiefs in states that Umno contested in,” he said.

Johari was speaking to reporters after handing over donations to students of public and private higher learning institutions in the Titiwangsa parliamentary constituency today.

Johari was asked to comment on BN’s performance in the six state elections which concluded yesterday.

He said Umno still has about four years and two months until 2027, to come out with strategies to win back the hearts of the Malays, just like what the party has done for the past 60 years.

“We must scrutinise our current approach and strategies, as well as what the people want from us.”

Asked if the defeat was due to its cooperation with DAP, which is also part of Pakatan Harapan under the unity government, Johari replied; “If that was the case, we would have not won 14 seats in Negri Sembilan.

“In Malaysia, we cannot run from the fact that we are a plural society, including in the country’s leadership.

“Hence, we need a lot of adjustments and we must take it positively.

“We cannot blame the decision made by the people. As leaders, we must find ways to win back their hearts.

“Politics is very dynamic. In 2004, PKR won one seat, DAP 12 and Pas with seven seats. After that, they made a comeback.

“Therefore, we should not feel down after the defeat, as if we are no longer relevant. What is more important now is to reflect and find ways how to be relevant again.”

Asked if the defeat would affect the pact between BN and Pakatan Harapan, Johari said; “We should not view this coalition government in terms of eight-months, but we must look at it for a whole term.

“Maybe we can do better in 2027, with better results if we go back to the drawing board and re-strategise our current approach.

“If you were to look at Pas, the way they have been campaigning has always been strategic and focused on their agenda.

“We cannot blame those who won (in the state election). Maybe they have done something good that attracted the people.”

Source : NST

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