Zahid: Don’t let your guard down

New Straits Times - - News -

MARANG: Barisan Na­sional (BN) com­po­nent par­ties have been cau­tioned not to let their guard down de­spite the pos­si­bil­ity of three or multi cor­nered con­tests tak­ing place dur­ing the 14th Gen­eral Elec­tion.

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi said the coali­tion must never think that its work had be­come eas­ier than the chal­lenge it faced in past gen­eral elec­tions.

“Pre­vi­ously, we had BN against the op­po­si­tion. Now, we have Pakatan Hara­pan and Pas.

“The po­lit­i­cal ecosys­tem has changed,” he said at the launch of the Jali­nan Rakyat Plus (JR Plus) for Marang yes­ter­day.

“I am con­fi­dent that three-cor­nered fights will be­come a re­al­ity in many con­stituen­cies,” he said, adding that while BN looked stronger with 13 com­po­nent par­ties, it could not dis­count the strength of Pakatan Hara­pan and Pas.

“We have to work hard be­cause our po­lit­i­cal en­e­mies want to see the fall of BN in Par­lia­ment and state con­stituen­cies in the next gen­eral elec­tion.

“Pre­vi­ously, we had prob­lems with the op­po­si­tion when Pas was with them but (Pas) has re­alised that it had been used.

“We have to re­spect Pas’s de­ci­sion to break way from the op­po­si­tion and fight on its own in the up­com­ing gen­eral elec­tion.”

Zahid said Umno would not med­dle in Pas’s in­ter­nal af­fairs but could work to­gether to crys­talise the agenda for Is­lam and Malays.

“We may have dif­fer­ent ide­olo­gies but on com­mon is­sues such as the in­ter­ests of Mus­lims and Malays, there is room for co­op­er­a­tion.”

The Umno vice-pres­i­dent also re­it­er­ated that Umno was never a racist party.

How­ever, it would not let any­one ques­tion the rights of Malays, priv­i­lege of the rulers and sanc­tity of Is­lam as ac­corded un­der the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion.

He re­minded Umno mem­bers to work hard to re­tain the seats it had won and re­gain lost seats.

“We have to in­crease the ma­jor­ity in seats we are de­fend­ing, work hard to re­cap­ture lost seats and per­suade vot­ers (to vote for BN).

“This will be the job for the JR Plus ma­chin­ery. We know there are lead­ers who are not sup­port­ing us be­cause they are not can­di­dates.

“JR Plus must ap­proach them and bring them back to sup­port the party.

“The days of be­ing slighted, sab­o­tag­ing and run­ning away from the arena are over,” said Zahid.

He added that he was con­fi­dent BN would re­cap­ture lost state seats here, namely Rhu Ren­dang, Bukit Pay­ong and Alur Lim­bat.

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