KUALA TERENGGANU: THE state Barisan Nasional is expected to be the runaway winner in the 14th General Election with vibes on the ground pointing to an increased majority, with two more seats recaptured and a possibility of regaining the two-thirds majority lost in the 12th General Election.
The spirit of Gelombang Biru, the battle cry in the 2004 general election has been rekindled with a new clarion call “Terengganu Molek Doh” and since early this year, this has resounded in all public functions in the state.
Its stark simplicity in a language easily comprehended by the masses has been a great help in BN’s campaign and this rallying cry is now heard all over the state — in village coffee shops, laundrettes, wet markets and even among schoolchildren.
The Terengganu Molek Doh campaign has given the people the right perspective of the government’s development efforts, especially on projecting its current achievements and future plans for the state.
The focus on success stories at the recently concluded Terengganu Expo in Gong Badak has helped further enhance public perception of BN as a party which needs to be retained.
If Pas had harped on its success of attracting 200,000 people during its Fastaqim 2.0 event at the same venue and boasted of achieving its target, then the Terengganu Expo held by the BN government which registered close to 700,000 visitors, exceeding its target by 300,000, speaks volumes of the people’s support for government programmes.
Unlike Pas, which used the Fastaqim event to hold ceramah for political mileage, the Terengganu Expo projected 144 success stories, some unknown to the people.
The BN machinery working in the background has been crunching numbers, and the 366 district polling centres is well oiled and ready to spring into action the moment the general election is called.
Leading the machinery is Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman, who is making sure that everyone in the party, whether at the divisions or branches, is pulling his or her weight.
Political analysts who have gone down to witness Umno’s preparations for the general election believe that the party’s machinery is at its best level of preparedness to not only defend the 17 constituencies, but also to wrest some of the 15 seats lost to the opposition.
The prediction is that even in a worst case scenario, BN is expected to add at least two more seats marked as grey namely Manir in Hulu Terengganu and Chukai in Kemaman.
However, whether there will be victory in Chukai will greatly depend on Chinese voters which number 5,750 (5.41 per cent) and whether they will return to the BN fold. After a term led by Pas assemblyman Hanafiah Mat, voters must now realise that there is nothing much their representatives can do to fight for their welfare.
The Manir seat greatly depends on the personality chosen as the candidate. The question of ingrates among the voters also need to be addressed because on the outset Pas has been riding on the success of some projects, especially housing, introduced by the BN government.
Analysts also believe that BN can recapture Rantau Abang and Paka in the Dungun parliamentary constituencies and the Alur Limbat and Bukit Payong seats in Marang with a good chance of winning the Ladang seat in Kuala Terengganu.
Should BN win all these seven state seats, it will have a convincing two-thirds representation in the state assembly.
However, this possibility is challenged by Pas and Pakatan Harapan (PH) as both these parties are expected to nominate their candidates in all the 32 state constituencies.
Pas is unperturbed with PH’s intention to field its former leaders and the splinters from Umno against the party in the 14th General Election, which will ultimately lead to three-cornered contests.
State Pas deputy commissioner Satiful Bahri Mamat said the prediction that it would face difficulties in winning seats because of split votes giving BN the advantage was merely a perception.
“Those making the analysis can say what they want. For Pas, we are with the grassroots and constantly analysing the momentum. We know our strengths.
“From the information that we have gathered, we will be engaged in three-cornered contests with BN and PH, and the feedback showed that the voters are with us.”
Satiful, who is also Paka assemblyman, said the percentage of young voters aged between 21 and 49 years, who represented 72 per cent of voters, gave the party the confidence of getting a new mandate.