New Straits Times


Coalition better prepared in managing perception


THE key to Barisan Nasional winning the 14th General Election (GE14) is the expertise of its machinery in handling political perception on social media to win back the support that it lost in the last two elections.

BN deputy chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the failure of BN in managing perception in GE12 and GE13 allowed the opposition to create negative perception of the government to the point that the ruling coalition lost some support.

“Non-convention­al media were fully manipulate­d by the opposition to this end, but BN has now taken proactive steps to handle this kind of attack.

“I am confident that this war of perception will be intensifie­d, especially at the eleventh hour, to counter the positive reactions the BN government has been getting over our policies,” he said after a briefing by Sarawak police at its headquarte­rs here.

Present were Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg, state Local Government Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian and Sarawak police commission­er Datuk Amer Awal.

One of the ways to gain back the support of voters in Sarawak, said Zahid, was for the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) and its splinter party, United People’s Party (UPP), to merge.

He said he had obtained feedback — official and unofficial — from both parties on the matter.

“It is BN’s wish to see the merger realised, but as for now, these efforts must be focused on preparing for the general election. If there are cases where candidates from either party are chosen to represent BN in GE14, I hope that both parties will lend their support to each other’s candidates to ensure a win for BN.”

SUPP is a Sarawak BN component party, spearheade­d by Dr Sim, while UPP is a BN-friendly party, which has yet to be accepted as a component party and is headed by state Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh.

Later, Zahid visited Sim’s home for a Chinese New Year lunch.

Zahid was greeted by the host and his family at their residence in Jalan Wan Abdul Rahman about 11.45am. They then tossed yee sang before having lunch.

Zahid’s arrival was preceded by his wife, Datin Seri Hamidah Khamis, who was accompanie­d by Abang Johari’s wife, Datin Amar Datuk Juma’ani Tuanku Bujang.

The group then enjoyed a light moment with Dr Sim’s mother, Puan Sri Lim Su Kheng, and his wife, Datin Enn Ong Siok Ean.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Jemut Masing and SUPP leaders and members were also present.

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