Ismail can woo fence-sitters to Umno – Analysts

Ismail can woo fence-sitters to Umno – Analysts

Umno’s decision to name Ismail Sabri Yaakob as its prime minister candidate for the next general election will allow him to woo fence-sitters to support the party, say two analysts.

Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara said Ismail had been fair in his current tenure as prime minister, after taking over from Muhyiddin Yassin.

“The move to increase the annual payment to Sabah by more than four times, and his Keluarga Malaysia concept show that he is fair to all, even those who do not support him,” Azmi said.

The government recently said the annual federal grant to Sabah would amount to RM125.6 million this year, more than quadruple the RM26.7 million paid previously.

Azmi said Ismail had been neutral in pursuing his agenda as the prime minister, even though he is from Umno, where he is a vice-president.

“Since Ismail is accepted by Umno, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), the choice (of Ismail as Umno’s prime minister candidate) is strategically the right move,” he said.

Last week, Umno’s Supreme Council proposed Ismail as the party’s candidate for prime minister ahead of GE15.

Observers previously perceived Ismail as just a temporary prime minister after he took over from Muhyiddin, as he did not seem to be aligned with Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former prime minister Najib Razak.

Another analyst, Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya, said Ismail would be able to garner the votes of fence-sitters because he was not perceived to be in the “mainstream Umno hierarchy” while his position as vice-president was not too strong.

Ismail “could not be too powerful” because his work will always be monitored by the top leadership in the party.

Awang Azman told this would ensure there were checks and balances within Umno itself since the Bera MP would not be given a carte blanche to make decisions as he would still have to consult the party’s top leaders. FMT

Ismail can woo fence-sitters to Umno – Analysts

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