A political observer says Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail's attacks on Kedah Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor backfired at the election last weekend which saw the Pakatan Harapan (PH)-Barisan Nasional (BN) alliance winning just three seats in the state with the rest falling to Perikatan Nasional (PN).
Zaini Hassan, a former senior editor at Utusan Malaysia, said Saifuddin's attacks on Sanusi were seen as unprofessional.
"He also disclosed a lot of confidential ministry documents on the rare earth elements (REE) issue and others," he added.
"A number of parties including government officials think that what Saifuddin did was not in keeping with his status as a minister.
"Using instruments of power excessively to intimidate political enemies was one of the factors in PH's severe defeat."
Zaini also said that both PH and Saifuddin had misread the people's sentiments towards Sanusi.
At the Aug 12 election, PN won 33 of the 36 seats in Kedah's legislative assembly, widening its influence in the state.
Sanusi, who defended his Jeneri seat, was sworn in as Kedah menteri besar once more on Monday.
Saifuddin, the PH secretary-general, had been tasked by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to lead PH-BN's efforts in Kedah.
He and many other key PH and BN leaders campaigned strongly in Kedah, where Sanusi was targeted over issues such as the bungalow belonging to his brother, REE mining in the state, and the Kedah Aerotropolis project of which the Kulim International Airport was a major component.
Saifuddin had been vocal on the REE issue while Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli opposed the airport construction.
The REE issue took a twist when Sanusi said Anwar had brought Indonesian tycoon Muhammad Riza Chalid to meet the Kedah sultan in 2022.
Riza was revealed to have established an REE mining company the day before Anwar was sworn in as prime minister in November last year.
Sanusi has also been charged with sedition over a speech mocking his Selangor counterpart Amirudin Shari.
Zaini said PH could not consider voters and political observers as ignorant, adding that this would be "a big mistake".
He also said that Umno had been a liability to PH at the election this time around.
"It was a protest over the Umno leadership, especially Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who did not stick to what he said at the Umno general assembly," he said, referring to Umno's long-held stand of "No DAP, No Anwar".
"Umno members want Zahid to step down over the massive losses suffered at GE15 and this state election."