PETALING JAYA - The coming Umno elections have wide-ranging implications beyond the Malay community, given the dominance of the party, according to analysts.
Assoc Prof Dr Shaharuddin Badaruddin termed the general assembly "the third Parliament" after the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara.
"Their debates and discussions will probably shape the nation's policies. After all, Umno members make up a third of the Cabinet," said the Universiti Teknologi Mara lecturer.
He recommended that non-Malays follow the assembly proceedings as it "will reveal values that can influence important issues."
He understands that the current rhetoric of candidates appealing to racial sentiment for support may create some fear among non-Malays.
"All candidates have to be more Malay than their rivals, but by January 2014 they must be more inclusive as this current strategy won't attract the non-Malay voter," Dr Shaharuddin said. The elections outcome may also impact existing Cabinet positions, said Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs chief operating officer Tricia Yeoh.
With candidates contesting for key roles closer to one faction or another, the analyst said that people should be aware of the loyalties of the eventual winners.
"Some factions are more inclusive of other communities while others take a much more hard-line and conservative stance," Yeoh said.