Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tenang - Majority Counts

In Tenang, size of win indicates faith in Najib
By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal December 26, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 – The upcoming Tenang by-election is shaping up to be a test for voter confidence in Datuk Seri Najib Razak as Prime Minister, and whether he can lead the country under the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, says his political foes.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders have admitted that winning the state seat in the BN stronghold Johor would be “realistically” tough, but they claimed that reducing BN’s majority will affect Najib’s (picture) popularity as PM.

A recent survey by Merdeka Center showed Najib’s approval rating remains high among voters in peninsular Malaysia, dipping only slightly from 72 per cent in May to 69 per cent this month.

The poll showed that 74 per cent of Malays, 54 per cent of Chinese and 85 per cent of Indians were satisfied with the prime minister’s performance, in a major boost for Najib as he mulls an early general election next year.

“To be perfectly honest, winning this seat will tough. Realistically speaking, if we can function as a coalition and make enough inroads in Tenang to deny BN a majority win by say 1,000 votes, it would reflect on Najib’s leadership.

“You have to bear in mind that this is a BN stronghold, so if Najib does not win big here he is in trouble,” said Tony Pua, the DAP’s national publicity secretary.

Pua told The Malaysian Insider that the Tenang seat was “crucial” in ensuring that PR made inroads in Johor, a tradionally Umno area.

Another DAP MP, Anthony Loke said that PR should not be entirely focused on winning Tenang, as the “bigger picture” should be about getting across to voters there.

“If we can win, yes it will be an upset. But what we need to achieve there is to shake the confidence of BN, as well as Najib. Johor remains the only fixed deposit for BN in Peninsular Malaysia,” the party’s Youth Chief (Dapsy) told The Malaysian Insider.

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