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Election fever heating up as polls near

by Geryl Ogilvy Ruekeith, reporters@theborneopost.com. Posted on January 2, 2013, Wednesday

KUCHING: With just 17 weeks left before the term of the parliament expires on April 28, political parties from both Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) are all set for what promises to be the most intense polls ever.

The country’s political climate, relatively calm during the festive season is heating up as election fever grips the nation.

The final countdown to the 13th general election has truly begun.

Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar believed that many factors would make this 13th general election an intense battle ground.

He said the reasons stemmed from the 12th general election in 2008 where the opposition made huge gains.

Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi retired from his prime minister’s post slightly less than a year after the election (April 2, 2009) making way for Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who has never led the BN in an election.

Najib took over the country’s top political post at a difficult time for the ruling Barisan Nasional soon after it suffered a ‘political tsunami’.

“He (Najib) is facing a completely different political scenario, his stake is simply too high – his leadership of BN and the leadership of the government of this country.

“However, political pundits believe this precarious situation had enhanced Najib political stature as he reacted to the situation with many new ideas for the nation.

“He has become the most creative, innovative and active prime minister in the Malaysian political history.

“To provide leadership to a modern and democratic Umno is no mean task. There are internal problems within some BN component parties that do not seem to want to go away,” opined the Santubong MP when contacted yesterday.

As for his constituency, he added his election preparation started in 2008 immediately after the last general election campaign settled down, a practice that should be used by all BN elected representatives.

He started and continued to forge cooperation and good relationship with all the state elected representatives under his parliamentary constituency of Tanjung Datu, Demak Laut and Pantai Damai. Beyond this, all party and community leaders right down to grassroots level were not left out in participating in the planning, proposing and implementation of development.

State Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-chairman See Chee How believed that both coalitions had an equal chance to emerge victor in controlling the parliament which consisted of 222 seats.

“This will be the closest polls in our history. Both sides have their own assessments to show that both will get 100 seats minimum, and hence the difference of not more than 22. Any side which can win the 12 contentious grey areas will win the election. It is that close.

“I’m optimistic about PR’s victory because of the nationwide expectations for change. The difference is felt in Sarawak for the first time. Not only the urban constituencies, we will also deliver rural and semi-urban seats for the Pakatan,” he told The Borneo Post.

The Pakatan Rakyat alliance will start this year with all guns blazing, heating up the political scenario in the state deemed a safe deposit of the BN government.

BN secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said the coalition’s headquarters had already issued instructions right down to the division level to be prepared for the polls at any time.

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