KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — Umno should avoid the Port Dickson poll as the party clearly has not recovered from the 14th general election, said Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
The Gua Musang MP also known as Ku Li said the negative perception that fuelled the Malay nationalist party’s defeat still remained while its election machinery was still motivated by the shock result of May 9.
“It is improper (to contest) because we just lost. The ‘mood’ towards Umno is still not good, therefore our morale is not high enough to work in a by-election.
Umno also lost the Sungai Kandis by-election called shortly after the general election while its Barisan Nasional ally, MCA, barely kept its deposit in the Balakong poll shortly after that.
The Umno advisory council chairman also noted that the Malay nationalist party never had Port Dickson in its stable throughout its history.
“So, why do we need to contest there?” he told the Malay daily.
The Kelantan prince also questioned the true benefit of running in Port Dickson when Umno is facing a rumoured exodus by members unhappy with its direction.
Former ministers Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Datuk Seri Anifah Aman both resigned from the party in quick succession this week, fuelling speculation that more will abandon Umno.
The two senior leaders’ departures meant five federal lawmakers have quit Umno since the general election, bringing its representation in Parliament to 49 MPs, the same number as rival PKR.
“What benefit would it be to win one seat when two (MPs) had left or perhaps four? It does not make sense,” he said.
Retired admiral Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah resigned as Port Dickson MP on Sept 12 to force a by-election for PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to contest.
Nomination Day is on Sept 29 while polling is on Oct 13.