Although, I have given UMNO/BN the edge due to the many offerings of sweeteners, the multitudes of Kuala Terengganu have rejected them.The people of Kuala Terengganu had spoken.It's a bad day for Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak as this is the second time he failed to get victory for the BN. The loss of Permatang Pauh was expected, this one had a good fighting chance, buggered by wrong candidature.
Najib should not solely be blamed for the loss. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should shoulder greater part of the blame for not putting his ears to the ground and listen to the rumblings of disagreement on the choice of candidate.Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad should be having the last laugh when Abdullah called him irrelevant.UMNO could have pulled through if a more amiable candidate was chosen. I would put the loss more due to rejection of the candidate rather than total rejection of the BN.Although, the majority of votes has increased, it was not substantial enough to write off the BN as becoming irrelevent.
I have in the past wrote about the failure of UMNO to re-invent itself after the embarrassingly poor showing at the March 2008 General Elections.
What happened in the last general elections was not the failure of BN, it was the abomination of UMNO and Abdullah's leadership resulting in the entire fleet being punished, especially the Chinese and Indians component parties. Sabah and Sarawak were untouched by the fury and saved the day for Abdullah, but astonishingly still remained unappreciated.The arrogance, self-denial and resistance to change in the top echelons of the party is self-perpetuating and becoming a death wish.
Najib has four years, if he doesn't lose the government by cross-over, to set things right in UMNO.When he becomes PM the first thing he should do is to sack half of the present cabinet ministers and replace with new and untainted faces.He must also be prepared to take unpopular actions and spare no effort to bring corruptions under control and distribute government projects not only to party members but equitable distribution to other deserving and capable contractors.
What happened in KT will have a bearing on other future by-election.The next one expected is Pensiangan in Sabah. Joseph Kurup of PBRS/BN lost his seat in an election petition brought against him.He won the seat uncontested through dubious means.
It is common knowledge among Sabahans that Joseph Kurup is very unpopular in the constituency and is going to lose badly if he is nominated to stand again.Najib may have to take serious note of this and ensure that he chooses the right candidate this time or else another fatality