BN eyeing 25 winnable seats to regain Penang

By Athi Shankar, FMT

GEORGE TOWN: Confidence is running high in Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) camp nowadays.

If the intelligence reports are anything to go by, BN should win enough state seats in the next general election to wrest the Penang government from Pakatan Rakyat.

It is learnt that the intelligence reports have identified at least 25 constituencies as winnable seats for BN – 15 on the mainland and 10 on the island.

The mainland seats are Bagan Dalam (Bagan); Berapit and Machang Bubok (Bukit Mertajam); Bertam, Penaga and Pinang Tunggal (Kepala Batas); Teluk Air Tawar, Permatang Berangan and Sungai Dua (Tasek Gelugor); Penanti, Permatang Pasir and Seberang Jaya (Permatang Pauh); and Jawi, Sungai Bakap and Sungai Acheh (Nibong Tebal).

On the island, the targeted seats are Sungai Pinang and Datuk Keramat (Jelutong); Seri Delima and Air Itam (Bukit Gelugor); Batu Uban, Pantai Jerejak and Batu Maung (Bayan Baru); and Bayan Lepas, Pulau Betong and Teluk Bahang (Balik Pulau).

BN is also confident of winning Kepala Batas, Tasek Gelugor, Batu Kawan, Nibong Tebal, Balik Pulau and Bayan Baru parliament seats.

In the 2008 general election, BN won 11 out of the 40 states and two out of 13 federal seats, all through Umno. Gerakan, MCA and MIC were all whitewashed.

However, BN leaders are confident that the political tsunami of 2008 would not be repeated this time.

Strategically, the state BN leaders are now conducting group tours on Mondays in earmarked constituencies to meet and be friendly with the people.

“We are going to the ground to listen to views and address issues hands-on.

“People have been responsive,” said a BN official.

Regaining lost ground

So far BN leaders have visited Nibong Tebal, Bukit Mertajam and Kepala Batas on the mainland, and Jelutong and Bukit Gelugor constituencies on the island.

Today, they visited PKR stronghold Permatang Pauh, whose MP is Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

The weekly constituency visits going on for more than a month now have boosted the coalition confidence that it was on its way to regaining lost ground.