Najib expected to retain power through massive vote-buying: Kroll

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Najib in all Barisan Nasional blue dress indicating election year is fast approaching

Kroll, a corporate investigations and risk consulting firm, said in a report on Malaysia’s upcoming elections that PM Najib Razak is firmly in control of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party, and is predicted to retain power.

“Political analysts overall agree that it remains likely that UMNO and its allied parties will retain a majority in parliament, albeit possibly with a reduced popular vote.

“PH faces several obstacles, including an electoral boundary shift which strongly favours the incumbents and bickering within the PH camp on which seats to contest.

“Observers should closely monitor the role of the Malaysian Islamic Party (“PAS”) which is neither part of PH nor UMNO’s alliance and is seen as a “kingmaker” in upcoming elections,” said the report.

But it said this will happen through significant “vote-buying” exercises.

“If past elections are any indication, there will be significant “vote-buying” exercises where exposed companies may be instructed to donate to UMNO-related causes.”

Nonetheless, investors should be aware of elevated fraud and corruption risks in the lead-up to the election, especially when dealing with politically sensitive or heavily unionised industries, and sectors which are rural-focused.

The manufacturing, aviation, plantations, and agriculture sectors would be of key concern. The ruling coalition will depend strongly on votes from workers in these industries, said the report.