Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak should not rejoice yet over yesterday's landslide victory at the Sarawak elections, as he faces a real test in the possibility of upcoming by-elections at the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar.
Former information chief Zainuddin Maidin said the premier did not face a tremendous challenge in the Sarawak polls as BN’s victory was to be expected due to Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem’s "impressive" leadership.
The big win, however, was marred by the helicopter tragedy, as a bad omen for Najib, said Zainuddin.
This, he said, is because the tragedy will result in two by-elections to challenge the PM.
“These two by-elections are more meaningful than the Sarawak election,” said Zainuddin on his blog today.
Sungai Besar MP Noriah Kasnon and Kuala Kangsar lawmaker Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad perished in a helicopter crash in Sarawak two days before polling day.
The helicopter bound for Kuching carrying Noriah, Khair-il and four others, including the pilot, went off the radar minutes after leaving Betong on Thursday.
Search and rescue operations found the aircraft wreckage and five bodies to date.
'Najib’s happiness 'momentary'
Zainuddin said Najib should be concerned because the late Noriah only won by a 399-vote majority in the last general election, while Khair-il won with a 1,082-vote majority.
Therefore, losing the seats will be a huge blow to Najib’s morale after "leaning" on the strength of others, said Zainuddin.
“Najib’s happiness and peace is only momentary,” he added.
He said only a BN win in the two by-elections will boost its image and give new hope to Umno to face the next general election.
“If (BN) wins, Najib will get to clean his image off the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion issues, as well as problems related to his wife.
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“These two elections will give the rakyat an earlier chance to mete out punishment to Najib’s leadership, which is currently under crisis."
As for Najib, it will definitely be a life or death situation, he added.
Although Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing in matters related to 1MDB and the donation issue, he continues to be criticised by various quarters.
The Sarawak election saw BN winning 72 seats out of the 82 contested.
The landslide win has been attributed to Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem’s popularity, among others.