Political observers say that family influence may no longer be a guarantee of success for candidates in the ongoing Umno election, following several defeats by the children of influential party leaders.
Those who spoke to MalaysiaNow said the defeats were in fact no surprise as the election trend among members appeared geared towards the character of candidates rather than their lineage.
They said this had been the trend ever since the party's trashing at the 15th general election last year.
Most recently, Nurulhidayah Ahmad Zahid, the daughter of Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, was defeated in the race for Wanita Umno chief in Bagan Datuk – the division represented by her father, who himself defended his seat only narrowly at the Nov 19, 2022 polls.
She did however win the second highest number of votes for the position of Wanita Umno executive councillor.
Meanwhile, Nooryana Najwa, the daughter of former prime minister Najib Razak, succeeded in winning a position in the Puteri Umno exco. Her brother, Mohd Naziffudin, however lost the race for Umno Youth vice-chief.
And Rahayu Tajuddin, the daughter of former Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, defeated the Perak Wanita Umno chief for the position of Pasir Salak division leader in the women's wing even though her father's membership had been suspended.
Veteran political observer Zin Mahmud said the mixed results were likely due to the separation of Umno members into two camps: one in support of individuals and the other in support of the party's cause.
He said the results also showed that influential individuals such as Zahid and Najib were under increasing threat due to their performance in leading the party as well as the charges against them in court.
"The children of influential leaders are not mature enough," he said.
"All of a sudden, they want to contend. Under the old tradition, they would have received the support of party members.
"But now, Umno has changed because even their fathers are not particularly outstanding leaders."
Zin also played down Zahid's claim that the Umno election this time would reflect transformation within the party, saying this would not be the case as long as contest is barred for the top two posts.
"This is another issue that has tarnished Umno's image," he said.
"Zahid says he wants transformation, but this will be difficult as even the top echelons have not changed."
Mujibu Abd Muis of Universiti Teknologi Mara meanwhile cautioned against equating the results of the Umno election with those of a general election.
He said the results of the party election did not necessarily demonstrate that voters in Bagan Datuk had rejected Nurulhidayah or waning support for Zahid as only Umno members were involved and not the community as a whole.
"Her defeat comes as no surprise," he said.
"It only shows that family ties are no guarantee of success. It all depends on the individual's influence and personal strength."
Mujibu added that a similar trend could also be seen in other parties.
"This is an indicator that individual qualities are more under scrutiny than family influence and legacy."