KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s longest-governing party stormed to victory in closely watched state polls on Saturday, gaining a boost in power ahead of a general election.
The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) was the lynchpin of a coalition that governed Malaysia for six decades until it was booted from power in 2018 following a storm of corruption allegations.
Former leader Najib Razak, who is appealing his criminal conviction over the state fund 1MDB graft scandal, led UMNO’s election campaign.
After a period of political turbulence that saw two governments collapse, UMNO clawed back to power at the national level three months ago, and reclaimed the premiership earlier this year.
The polls for the local legislature in the southern state of Malacca were a contest between UMNO, its partners in the national government, and an opposition alliance.
The victory for UMNO indicates it could do well in national elections.
It is also a big win for corruption-tainted Najib and could pave the way for UMNO to dominate national politics again, analysts said.
“UMNO won because they were much more disciplined. The biggest winner in this election obviously is Najib. He was the key person campaigning in Malacca,” James Chin, a political analyst from the University of Tasmania said.
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