BN direct entry an election ploy, say analysts

(TMI) In accepting new members directly into its fold from yesterday, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) has shown it can accommodate divergent political views, a move that pundits say will likely raise public support in its favour in the coming general election.

Merdeka Center’s Ibrahim Suffian said the ruling coalition’s move to take in members directly instead of through its component parties points to a more focused and driven BN under the Najb administration.

“The upcoming elections will be a key test whether the BN can maintain its long-term hold on federal power,” the local research house director told The Malaysian Insider.

“The BN is looking more and more serious in moving to consolidate its base of support,” he added, noting the reason for the move was clearly to strengthen its overall support and overcome the weaknesses of the component parties.

Dr Faisal Hazis from Universiti Sarawak said BN’s direct membership was both cosmetic — in the sense it plays on the 1 Malaysia slogan to make the BN look more united — and a “smart way to strategise for the coming elections”.

The ruling federal coalition lost four states in the 2008 general election apart from Kelantan and its two-thirds hold in the Dewan Rakyat, necessary to make changes to the federal constitution on its own.

It regained control of Perak last year after three state lawmakers quit Pakatan Rakyat and pledged loyalty to the BN. Another one followed suit later and joined BN’s People’s Progressive Party (PPP).

The department head of political science and international relations viewed the move mainly as the coalition’s bid to swell membership numbers to beyond what any of its 13 component parties can achieve on their own.

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