Tough for BN to dislodge Pakatan in Penang

BN must field fresh faces in the next GE if it is to stand a chance against Lim Guan Eng’s government, says state Umno Youth chief Sheikh Hussein Mydin. 

Hawkeye, Free Malaysia Today 

Two-thirds of BN candidates in the next general election must be fresh faces without any “political baggage” if it is to stand a chance against Pakatan Rakyat in Penang.

State Umno Youth head Sheikh Hussein Mydin said that only with such a line-up can BN pose a stiff challenge to the incumbency of Pakatan Rakyat.

Penang Umno is likely to contest 15 out of the 40 state seats, of which it is now the incumbent for 11 out of the 15 seats. Gerakan, MCA and MIC lost the remaining seats.

Political observers say that Pakatan is the overwhelming favourite to retain Penang because the anger towards BN has not abated since 2008.

Gerakan and MCA may be the main casualties but the former may spring a surprise or two as it has at its disposal a second echelon of calibre leaders, says Jason Wong, a political analyst.

He said that Umno divisional warlords are clamouring for more seats or to swap some in order for the coalition to stand a chance of winning back the Pearl of the Orient.

One reason for BN’s downslide is that Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has grown in stature both as an administrator and a politician, although he has been accused of dictatorism, Wong said.

Sheikh Hussein meanwhile said Umno Youth believes that the anger towards BN would subside if the inconsistencies of Lim are exposed and if BN produces fresh capable candidates.

“We should also allow the 11 Umno individuals who won in the last election, an option to either continue or to make-way.

“We must respect our 11 assemblymen as they won during a political tsunami where many other comrades were swept away by the hatred towards BN,” said Sheikh Hussein.

“Other than the 11, the rest of BN’s candidates should comprise fresh faces who are able to stand up against Pakatan’s ignorance and arrogance.”

He reminded voters that the top three leaders in Penang – Lim, his two deputies Mansor Othman and Prof Dr P Ramasamy were neither born nor raised in the state.

This makes them less sensitive to the state’s unique local culture and practises, Sheikh Hussein added.

Penang is a highly diversified state with the Malays just sightly behind the Chinese in population numbers although the former lags behind the latter in terms of income per capita.

Can history repeat itself?

Bayan Baru Gerakan division head Wong Mun Hoe said there must be a healthy representation of all races in either the ruling government or in the opposition.

“There must be a fair number of Malays in the opposition while Chinese are in government, as it is unhealthy for a state, which prides itself in culture and race diversities,” he said.

Mun Hoe added that Lim has a tendancy of coming across as being aloof to criticisms, either rightly or wrongly.

It is in the nature of Penangites to have critical viewpoints as they have been raised up in such a manner, said Mun Hoe said.

Lim must know he is dealing with a critical set of people even in his own party, he added, citing that the campaign to evict Lim Kit Siang earlier this decade, was mooted in Penang.

“Lim cannot simply dismiss criticisms and serve legal notices on everyone who criticises the DAP-led state government,” he added.

“If Lim’s predecessor Koh Tsu Koon had adopted a similar stance, the latter would have end up with many suits including hundreds against DAP for making baseless accusations.”