PN needs more candidate material, must keep Pas grounded

Perikatan Nasional (PN) may be seen to be making inroads, spreading its influence in many parts of Malaysia.

However, the coalition has a huge problem –  coming up with a list of potential candidates with good leadership qualities.

This was evident in the recent state polls, especially in Negeri Sembilan.

Sources within PN said that Pas remained a strong component in the coalition – as demonstrated in its big wins in Kedah, Kelantan,  and Terengganu.

“But what happened in Negeri Sembilan is quite sad. Pas was weak there, while Umno and PH were just too strong. PN’s downfall there is because it didn’t field strong candidates and due to the weaknesses in its machinery … including in getting people out to vote,” the PN member said.

In Negeri Sembilan, PH-BN won 31 seats, while PN won the remaining five seats in the Aug 12 polls.

“PN couldn’t find the ‘wow’ factor to get people to come out to vote. There were conversations about getting Khairy Jamaluddin to be PN’s poster boy in Negeri Sembilan.

“Would it have worked? Khairy was riding on PN,  as he was on the same page with the coalition on certain issues but it was also his way of keeping ‘brand KJ’ alive. He was playing politics for himself.”

PN, however, won big in Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu, and made inroads in Selangor, largely due to the growing disenchantment with the Pakatan Harapan (PH)-Barisan Nasional (BN) government, an unlikely alliance formed after the 15th General Election on Nov 19, last year.

Among the grouses by Malaysians in recent months have been the rising cost of living, soaring prices of goods, and the weak ringgit.

The source added that Pas seems to be a little ‘aloof’ and needs to be kept grounded.

“It is without doubt that Pas made a huge impact in the recent state elections. In fact, Pas and DAP were the biggest winners. These two political parties sit on extreme ends.

“Winning a clean sweep in Terengganu (32-0) can be dangerous, as the party will be in a ‘bubble’ and will be oblivious to what’s happening around them. They should instead empower their coalition partners. Who will be the speakers of the respective state assemblies? Those from Pas as well?”

Several PN leaders were caught off-guard after its Youth chief, Pas leader Ahmad Fadhli Shaari, launched an alternative logo and theme for the upcoming Merdeka celebrations. Ahmad Fadhli said that the alternative logo and theme would be used in Pas-ruled states of Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu.

However, Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar later said that the state would be using the federal government’s National Day logo and theme instead.

“Ranking PN leaders were not informed of the alternative theme and logo. The fact that the PN deputy chairman (Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu) had told Twentytwo13 that Merdeka is bigger than themes and logos says a lot.”

Another senior PN leader is confident that Bersatu and Pas will do extremely well in GE16, provided both parties “find the right formula to enjoy the success they are enjoying at the moment”.

“There is a need to manage this success. With success comes responsibility,” the leader said.

“The party needs to also work on getting the support of the non-Malays. More emphasis should be placed on this, to reach out to them (non-Malays).”

When told that Gerakan seemed to be the weakest link in the coalition, the PN official said: “You know what Gerakan’s problem is? They are too genuine and naive. Sadly, people want politicians who play to the gallery.”

“Gerakan needs to beef up its structure at the bottom. It will take them some time but it cannot be denied that they have several good division and state leaders.”

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