I was in Sg. Petani, Kedah on Wednesday to officiate 3 MCA AGM meetings as well as to chair the second BN coordinating meeting. About 40 members consisting of UMNO, MCA, MIC, Gerakan and PPP’s division leaders from Sg. Petani attended the coordination meeting that was held at 4p.m.
A series of issues were discussed during the meeting, including how BN should position itself as an effective opposition party in Kedah. In Kedah, BN lost the Parliamentary seat of Sg. Petani and all the 3 state seats within the Parliamentary seat during the 308 general election last year. In the Parliamentary seat of Sg. Petani, BN lost by a majority of more than 9000 votes. However, within the 3 state seats, if we tally the losses, BN lost by majority of 5300 votes. In other words, there are people who voted for BN at the state seat but rejected BN in the Parliamentary seat. At the meeting, I was told an important factor was that the BN candidate was a parachute candidate. Hence, there was a lot of dissatisfaction among the local community.
BN members have failed to play the role of an opposition effectively in all the PR states. They cannot keep thinking that they are still the government in power and acted like one. They must take action on issues that concerns the interest of the rakyat. During the meeting, we were told by many members of the committee that most PR assemblyman in Kedah do not go down to the ground nor hold any dialogues with the rakyat. Therefore, this is the chance for BN to regain rakyat’s confidence through its continuous service. If PR assemblymen do not want to do their part, we BN will do it for them.
I noted that most Kedah BN members are very enthusiastic in their work and I must thank them for their commitment. They raised several questions on the local and federal policies. They mentioned that they cannot only depend on BN to change, but they themselves must start the ball rolling. They cannot just sit down and wait for orders from the federal. They must act proactively. In the same way, the state BN must also share information with the division BN on national issues so that the divisions are able to monitor PR’s movement. State BN must also take note of local problems through local council and divisions.
I told members of the BN committee that they have to move as a team at all times and not only during the election. They have to carry out activities together, hold meetings regularly, and when it comes to application to government for grants, it should be done in a very fair and transparent manner. Every rakyat is entitled to benefit from this grant and the grant should not be given only to its own supporters to strengthen the position of the divisional leader. When it comes to activities, it should not be confined only to members of the party. They should open up and welcome participation by the local community. BN leaders have to be more people’s friendly and go down to the ground.
During the meeting, I also told the members that all BN coordinators must unite and work well with members from other BN component parties if they want to regain the confidence and the support of the rakyat come the next general election. Only through hard work and good performance will we stand a chance to regain seats lost to PR.
Although it seems to some people that BN can do no right and PR can do no wrong, it is of utmost importance that BN members in PR seats stay focus, continue to serve and also to monitor PR state government’s performance. We must have a short, medium and long term plan to counter PR’s strategy. I believe that together with the cooperation from the state and local BN and the changed attitude by BN leaders BN, we hope to reclaim the lost seats in the coming general election.