COMMENTARY, Oct 26 ― The Melaka election is on November 20 but there are already early “casualties” in this political tussle for power.

The first are the four assemblymen who withdrew support for Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali and caused the Umno-led state government to collapse, forcing an election even as Covid-19 cases remain in the thousands.

They are Datuk Seri Idris Haron, the former chief minister who was also assemblyman for Sungai Udang, Datuk Nor Azman Hassan (Pantai Kundor), Datuk Noor Effandi Ahmad (Telok Mas) and Datuk Norhizam Hassan Baktee (Pengkalan Batu).

Sacked from their respective parties except for Norhizam who was an independent, they are now not wanted by any party and their political future is unknown.

Any political ambition they have is now just a dream. None of them expected Sulaiman would seek fresh elections to solve their political feud.

The four are now seeking ways to stay relevant. Pakatan Harapan won’t take them in. The Umno-led Barisan Nasional likely finds the current situation a blessing in disguise as it now has a chance to discover its real friends.

Umno has said it will contest the Melaka state election alone as a warm up to the 15th general election.

Word has it that the Umno leadership is planning to field up to 60 per cent young blood in this state election.

Even its chief minister candidate will be new. This appears part of its strategy to attract Malay voters and young voters.

Going into Melaka solo also means abandoning the Muafakat National accord that Umno and PAS signed two years ago.

The country’s oldest Malay party has also found that not all PAS leaders are friends that stick through thick and thin after several top leaders in the Islamist party said Umno had nothing to offer in terms of positions and privileges now and has chosen to stick with Bersatu, its partner in the Perikatan Nasional coalition.

That’s why PAS is the second casualty in this election.

PAS has no real solid support in Melaka. Sure, it may have pockets of support here and there in the state but this won’t make up the numbers it needs to win any of the 28 seats up for grabs.

Bersatu will probably be the third casualty as the party has no solid grassroots support in Melaka.

After all, it was only formed in 2016 and the main aim then was to end Umno’s reign as the foremost Malay party in the country.

The party leaders failed to expand their divisions and branches around the country after the Sheraton Move in 2020 until now.

In desperation, the party leaders have been pressuring Umno to make a stand on joining forces to win Malay support in Melaka to bolster its position.