Chini by-election is Najib’s by-election

The Chini by-election is a by-election no one cares about. In fact, most PAS and UMNO politicians hope that you do not care about it.

They said that the Covid-19 pandemic ought to be the key focus — not politics. No one can dispute that. But there is 2 important significance of Chini by-election:

1. This is the first by-election where a walkover is better than losing for Harapan 

To win Chini is an impossible task for Pakatan Harapan. Even with GE14’s political tsunami of goodwill, Harapan only managed to get 6.3% of the votes in Chini.

Chini is a FELDA area with a high conservative Malay population. Not only are they diehard UMNO supporters, they are also fierce Najib supporters.

For elections where defeat is an absolute certainty, the question to ask is whether there is something else to be gained besides the election results. In Chini, there isn’t.

In fact, if Harapan fields a candidate, it will be exposed of its unpopularity which will be unfairly paraded by UMNO victors who will use it to legitimise Muhyiddin’s government. They will use a small Chini result to say that the people have rejected Harapan — and rejected them badly, and therefore, the rightful government is Perikatan Nasional.

That’s why this may be a by-election where it makes more sense to retreat than to be defeated.

2. This could be a training ground for Najib’s son

Najib has a son called Mohd Nizar Najib. He is 42 years old this year, and both father and son have ambitions for Mohd Nizar to take over. Not unlike Mahathir-Mukhriz or Kit Siang-Guan Eng.

Rumours are rife that Mohd Nizar will be fielded as a candidate for Chini. It makes sense because his son is the UMNO Youth Chief for Pekan — his father’s parliamentary constituency. Chini is a state constituency that falls under the parent constituency of Pekan, and in politics, the parliamentary voting patterns typically trickle down to the state level as well.


Since Chini is a sure-win for UMNO, fielding Mohd Nizar at a state constituency is a good testing ground for bigger things.

Najib’s son had always talked about how he wanted to learn about UMNO’s struggles from the grassroots, where it still reigns supreme.

Other than training his favourite son for politics to be like him, a victory here would also act as a stepping stone for Najib’s return to power. A snap election is certainly on the horizon, and getting his son to win an election would surely bolster the party’s morale.

A victory in Chini would reopen a page for his party, himself — and a new chapter for his son.

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