An analyst says former Umno man Khairy Jamaluddin will have a brighter political future ahead if he chooses Perikatan Nasional (PN) over Pakatan Harapan (PH), ahead of key elections to be held in six states this year.
Speaking to MalaysiaNow, Ahmad Atory Hussain said Khairy would have a better chance with PN given the strong support enjoyed by the federal opposition coalition from the Malay community.
Atory, of Universiti Sains Malaysia, said support from the Malays, the majority race in Malaysia, was crucial for any politician seeking to hold the position of prime minister.
He added that Khairy would place his political career on firmer footing if he agreed to join PN and became the menteri besar candidate in Negeri Sembilan.
Khairy, who formerly held the parliamentary seat of Rembau, was fielded in Sungai Buloh at the last general election in order to make way for Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan.
While on the campaign trail, he openly announced his ambition to become prime minister one day.
He was sacked from the party in January, alongside several other Umno leaders, and has yet to announce a decision on his political direction.
PN chairman Muhyiddin Yassin recently revealed that Khairy had been offered membership and a place on Bersatu's highest decision-making body.
Khairy himself has yet to respond to the invitation but said that the criticism levelled by Umno and PH supporters would affect his decision on the future of his political career.
Atory also noted BN's poor performance at the Nov 19 election, saying: "BN was defeated, and Khairy sacked.
"There is no way that he would rejoin Umno."
He added that Khairy's ambition of occupying the top office would have a better chance of success if the former Umno Youth chief became a menteri besar first, aided by his years of experience as a Cabinet member in three different portfolios: youth and sports; science, technology and innovation; and health.
"Many states were once seen as Umno strongholds, including Negeri Sembilan," he said.
"But one by one, they all fell when the support of the Malays shifted, reflecting Umno's deteriorating performance.
"Right now, the Malay vote has swung towards PAS and Bersatu. So Khairy could gain the support of the community if he joined PN."
PAS won 43 seats at the last general election, the most of any political party. It was followed by DAP (40), PKR and Bersatu (31 each), and Umno (26).
This was part of the unexpected swing in Malay vote which saw PN sweeping parliamentary seats in Terengganu, Kelantan, and Perlis, and taking others seen as PH strongholds including Permatang Pauh, long held by members of Anwar Ibrahim's family.
The upcoming elections will be held in the states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah, Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.