BN begins to strike back

By Zainal Epi, Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: The Barisan Nasional (BN) is on the roll: it has introduced a new open door concept to make the coalition more inclusive and a new logo to replace the dacing to reflect a stronger, more vibrant partnership.

Like it or not, the new concept and image may just hit the right note in the hearts and minds of Malaysians, particularly the young, who will form the bulk of the voters come the next general election.

Prime Minister and BN chairman Najib Tun Razak has taken the initiative to rebrand BN, given the coalition’s dismal performance in the 2008 general election.

At a recent BN supreme council meeting, he announced that those keen to join the BN can apply directly to become associate members.

This means they need not be a member of any existing political parties to enter the BN club.Observers believe the move was a master stroke as it will encourage people who are disillusioned with several of the coalition parties to support BN as direct members.

Many of the BN partners began looking inward after the 2008 drubbing, and started to make some changes but they ended up in a worse position.

Umno, the backbone of BN, has made a fast recovery ever since Najib took over the helm. His fresh approach has brought hope and enthusaism into the dejected BN camp and even won back supporters who had “jumped ship”.

Still in the wilderness

Today, Umno seems to be in a better position with many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – Malay-based or otherwise – willing to work together with the party.

The MCA, the second largest party in the coalition, is still in the wilderness searching for answers as to why the Chinese community had abandoned the party.

The change of leadership does not seem to have much effect on the Chinese who seem to be drifting away from the party which claims to champion their cause.

The MIC has yet to see any significant change except that the Indian community seems to be running in and out of other multi-racial parties seeking an umbrella.

Gerakan seems to be on its own dreamland, occupied with infighting and, like the MCA, seeking a base again among the intellectual Chinese while losing its multi-racial colour.

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is not faring any better – it is living in political oblivion.

In Sabah and Sarawak, the coalition parties are still intact with occasional minor noises coming from the peninular-based opposition parties.

Najib’s direct membership policy now seems to be the correct answer to regain the trust of the voters as many individuals and NGOs support the BN but not the coalition leaders.