Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Urbanites may regret falling for sweet talk PR advance in Negeri Sembilan

Negri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan (second from left) celebrating BN’s triumph with the coalition’s winning candidates in Seremban yesterday.

Rural voters form a strong base for Negri government

THE dust has settled, and the winners and losers identified. In Negri Sembilan, status quo remains with the Barisan Nasional forming the government through a simple majority.

Compared with the 2008 general election result, BN and DAP increased their state seats by one each at 22 and 11, while PKR won three this time, from four previously. Pas, with not a single win, is no longer in the state's political landscape.

Umno fielded 22 candidates and lost one state seat, MIC won one seat, while MCA lost it all.

At this point, the new state government line up will not have any Chinese representation, and only one woman politician.

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It is evident that MCA failed to engage and garner support from urban voters, a majority of them Chinese, who threw their support behind the opposition, particularly DAP.

Opposition leaders, in their many ceramah in the state leading to the election, peddled the pipe dream that Negri Sembilan, along with several southern states, would be toppled in a political tsunami.

That tsunami never came, particularly as rural voters in the state still formed a strong support base for the state government.

They were not taken in by the promises and claims by Pas and PKR, tasked with winning their hearts and minds. Both parties failed because of internal bickering that started when their candidates were announced.

The rural people, who believed in BN, knew they had nothing to lose in voting for the coalition, whose work speaks for itself.

Unlike some states where development in urban areas bring little benefit to the rural folk, Negri Sembilan is different as its menteri besar has, in the last two terms, integrated his corporate knowledge to improve the state administration.

Using a unique development programme, where urbanisation complemented villages through linkage via improved road infrastructure, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and the state administration have brought prosperity to urban and rural areas.

In the end, villagers know that as the state develops, they, too, will benefit, along with newcomers in urban areas.

This mix is also evident in the new state government line up, which is a mix of experienced politicians and new faces.

Questions remain, however, about the representation for the Chinese in the state as MCA has failed to deliver any seats. DAP is now the leading opposition party in the state.

This polarisation, as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had mentioned in his speech after BN had won the election on Sunday night, is a cause for concern.

In retrospect, some urban voters in the state may now regret falling for the sweet talk of opposition leaders who had promised that Negri Sembilan would see a change in government.

In the next five years, there will be opportunities for both sides -- the state's urban voters and the BN state leadership -- to reconcile outstanding issues and reach an understanding towards mutual benefit for the state and its people.

In the meantime, one can trust the state to continue becoming one of the fastest developing in the country under the BN-led government.

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