BN’s political strategist says optimistic that Pakatan’s popularity may not last in Selangor

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Selangor Barisan Nasional (BN) information chief Isham Jalil said that with the entry of Undi18, many political parties will be affected as the automatic voter registration system will be uncharted territory for most political parties, January 12, 2022. — Picture by Ben Tan
Selangor Barisan Nasional (BN) information chief Isham Jalil said that with the entry of Undi18, many political parties will be affected as the automatic voter registration system will be uncharted territory for most political parties, January 12, 2022. — Picture by Ben Tan

JOHOR BARU, Jan 12 — Despite the full implementation of the automatic voter registration system by the Election Commission (EC) this year, Barisan Nasional (BN) said it is confident that it can give Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition a good fight for Selangor if an election is called.

Selangor BN information chief Isham Jalil said that with the entry of Undi18, many political parties will be affected as the automatic voter registration system will be uncharted territory for most political parties.

He said it will cause major demographic changes in parliamentary and state constituencies nationwide.

“It will be anybody’s game, especially in the upcoming 15th General Election (GE15) following the implementation of Undi18.

“With the many unfulfilled issues in Selangor, BN may just hold an advantage in getting majority support from the new voters, in particular the youth,” said Isham after a Johor Umno veteran programme held at Kompleks Tan Sri Mohammed Rahmat in Tampoi here.

He was commenting on roughly an additional 1.2 million voters, aged between 18 and 21, nationwide following the full implementation of the automatic voter registration system.

Isham said PH had earlier expressed confidence that they will retain Selangor, the richest state in the country, for the upcoming GE15.

“However, they should not get overconfident as the youth are very much in tune and sensitive with the issues happening in the country right now.

“They are strongly against party hoppers and unfulfilled manifesto promises,” he said.

Isham said issues such as the decades-long water supply disruptions and handling of the recent floods were difficult for PH to address in Selangor.

“At the same time, Selangor has the highest land tax structure in the country and at the same time the state has many under-employed youths,” he said, adding that such unresolved economic issues will directly affect youths in the state.

Isham, who at times also acts as a political strategy adviser for Umno, said the recent Melaka state election saw BN gain overwhelming support from young voters.

He was confident that a similar trend can continue for the upcoming GE15.

On Johor calling for snap polls, Isham said that it was likely that a state election will be called very soon as the state government needed a fresh mandate.

“It is also possible that with Johor having a state election, it could be the trigger for GE15 next,” he said, adding that this would move the general election to be by this year instead of 2023.

Isham explained that the present government and the last government led by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin did not receive the people’s mandate and it is important for the next administration to secure the people’s mandate.

He said a fresh mandate will bring political stability as well as investor confidence and improve the country’s economy.

However, Isham cautioned that the GE15 should not take place immediately, but only after the first quarter of this year once the flood issues are settled and Covid-19 cases have stabilised.

Earlier, EC deputy chairman Azmi Sharom told Malay Mail that the commission has finally completed the system to enable those aged 18 and above to vote, which will see an additional 5.8 million voters at any election called after January 16.

He said the names of 5.8 million new voters will appear on the electoral roll on Sunday following the implementation of Undi18 and automatic voter registration.

Of the total, 1.2 million will be Malaysians aged 18 to 20 while 4.6 million will be those who have not registered as voters.

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