UMNO and Malaysia’s Next General Election: Leaders, Agendas, Grassroots


About the Seminar

The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) holds power in Malaysia through a tenuous pact with Perikatan Nasional. With a razor-thin parliament majority, the government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Pakatan Harapan opposition.

This unique arrangement has emerged from power struggles within UMNO, most consequentially between party president Zahid Hamidi and Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob. Ismail Sabri is the party’s third-highest office holder but holds the keys to dissolving parliament and triggering the next general election. Zahid, on the other hand, holds the levers within the party. UMNO enjoys popular momentum, buoyed by emphatic wins for the Barisan Nasional coalition at the Melaka and Johor state elections. Nonetheless, it continues to face competition for the Malay vote. Its vast membership and well-oiled machinery confer advantages, but beyond rallying the base, the party also needs to expand its appeal. Outreach to young and automatically registered voters, in particular, call for policy agendas beyond identity politics.

At this seminar, senior political figure and outspoken UMNO leader Nazri Aziz will address a range of pressing issues. What is the balance of power between Zahid and Ismail, and how will Ismail negotiate his way forward? How will UMNO respond to the Perikatan Nasional challenge that the latter defends Malay interest minus the corruption? How has UMNO’s base responded to the MoU and coalition-building, and how is the party seeking to appeal to new voters?

This seminar is supported by Temasek Foundation as part of the Malaysia in Focus series.

About the Speaker

Dato’ Seri Nazri Aziz is the Member of Parliament for Padang Rengas, Perak, a seat he has held since 2004. He was first elected to parliament in 1995. He has served in Malaysia’s Cabinet in various portfolios, including tourism and culture, legal affairs, and entrepreneur development. He was formerly Minister of Tourism and Culture, de facto Law Minister, Minister of Entrepreneur Development. He was formerly a leader in UMNO Youth and a member of UMNO’s Supreme Council from 1990 to 2018. He is a holder of the degree of Utter Barrister at law from Lincoln’s Inn, London.


This is a hybrid event which will be held at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS).

Attending the Event In-person at ISEAS

To join the event in-person at ISEAS, please register via the ISEAS mobile app, available on iOS and Android via the Apple or Play store. Search “ISEAS” to find or scan this QR code.

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Seating capacity is limited. Do register early to avoid disappointment.

Attending the Event Virtually via Webinar

To join the event virtually at the specified date and time using your internet devices, please register here to receive your unique login link for the webinar via the zoom platform.


Jul 14 2022


GMT +8
10:00 am - 11:15 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 2 / Webinar