Spurred by Najib, reps say electoral wins sure bet

By Yow Hong Chieh, The Malaysian Insider

Delegates at the Umno general assembly here, buoyed by Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s policy speech yesterday, are convinced that a resurgent Umno is ready to face and defeat Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the next general election.

Najib’s address yesterday, which drew heavily on Umno’s past successes as a blueprint for future triumph, appears to have galvanised the party going by the sentiment of the delegates gathered here.

Abdul Mutalib Samsudeen from Jelutong said he was confident that Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) will succeed in winning back the supermajority it lost in the last general election, aided by disarray within PR’s core party, PKR.

“If we have the elections tomorrow… we are confident that we can get two-thirds majority in Parliament. We will win back Kedah. We will win in Perak.”

While he only gave BN a “50-50” chance of winning back Penang and wresting control of Kelantan from opposition hands, he stressed that the important thing was BN would remain in power at federal level.

Abdul Mutalib likened Najib’s speech to a “vitamin” that will help strengthen Umno and BN’s resolve to address weaknesses, particularly complacency, which he blamed for BN losses in Election 2008.

“We have realised our mistakes and are trying [to fix them]. We are positive we will do well in the 13th general election,” he said.

He scoffed at PR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s attempt to “copy” BN’s power-sharing formula, claiming the opposition parties did not have the same mutual understanding that BN component parties shared.

“This (BN) is a coalition that has been strong since long back and is hard to demolish. This is what Datuk Seri Anwar is trying to copy unsuccessfully. When PAS tries to introduce [the concept of] an Islamic state, DAP or PKR will oppose them,” he said.

“His coalition is going nowhere,” he added.

Similarly, Sri Gading representative Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said BN will recover lost ground in the next general election, more so after Najib’s call for greater inclusivity.

Abdul Aziz said Najib’s timely speech underscored the difference between a united BN and the opposition, which he claimed was coming apart at the seams.

“The recent PKR divisional meeting demonstrates that the party is in a chaotic situation. The people clearly don’t have confidence with the opposition on the whole,” he said.

He said the policies mooted by PR were “unrealistic” and accused Anwar of making “false promises” to voters, such as the promise the former deputy prime minister made in 2008 to take Putrajaya by September 16 that year.

“All their programmes are mostly fiction… It’s all more on the perception. And they are giving hope that is only an imagination,” he said.

Abdul Aziz contrasted PR’s failures to what he described as the proven service track record of Najib.

He added that he was “very confident” the people of Galas and Batu Sapi will deliver their votes to BN in the upcoming by-elections, saying that there was now greater trust in and support for Najib’s leadership.

“The people are giving back their trust to Barisan Nasional,” Abdul Aziz said.

Kamiden Abdul Salam from Pontian, however, sounded a more cautious note in assessing voter support. While agreeing that Malays were coming back to Umno and BN, he said the Chinese remained unconvinced and might not help deliver the resounding victory his colleagues were so sure of.

“For the near future, I do not think it is possible. While we do not have full Malay support, it has risen, but Chinese support is still low. It hasn’t reached one per cent or seven per cent,” he said.

“Even if we have it (general election) next year, I think it will be hard.”