Focus on rural areas, Umno urged

Former Kelantan Umno election director says Umno has lost much traction in urbanised areas.

Hawkeye, FMT

Barisan Nasional’s sweeping victory in the Kuala Besut state by-election in Terengganu underscores the need for Umno to focus more on the rural heartland in the country instead of trying to win over the urbanised voters.

This was disclosed by former Kelantan Umno elections director Tuan Hashim Tuan Yaakob, who added that Umno must realise that it no longer has much standing in the urbanised areas as the voters there have become discerning and overly critical.

In the by-election, Tengku Zaihan Che Ku Abd Rahman from BN garnered 8,288 votes to defeat Azlan Yusof from PAS with a majority of 2,592 votes.

Hashim, a political strategist here, said the Malay nationalist party must provide more resources for developing the socio-economic structure in the rural areas while also swallowing the harsh reality that the urbanised areas may be out of BN’s reach for a considerable period unless its rival – Pakatan Rakyat – performs badly.

“In the context of a number-game, one urban parliament seat is equivalent to one seat in the rural area. It is the same. But if we can arrest any inroads made by PAS in the rural areas, we can actually regain more seats in the future,” he said.

He added that this will translate to more support for Umno.

“It is for Pakatan to lose in urban areas while it is the rural areas for Umno to lose,” he said.

A typical urbanite in Malaysia is highly critical of BN and would accord all blame on the coalition regardless of whether the allegations are true, said Hashim in an interview.

Hashim was responding to a suggestion from the quarters in Umno who are pushing Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to boost his focus on the rural areas in this parliamentary term.