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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Slim win expected for BN, analysts tell ASLI forum

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — Barisan Nasional (BN) will win the 13th general election thanks to a shifting political landscape and its incumbent advantage, analysts predicted today.
Speaking at a forum in the 15th Malaysia Strategic Outlook Conference here organised by think-tank Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI), the two analysts however agreed that the ruling coalition will not garner a two-thirds majority in Parliament.
File photo of Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur. Two analysts said BN will not win a two-thirds majority in Parliament.
“(Datuk Seri) Najib (Razak’s) administration would win ... because it’s incumbent. But it would be narrow, tight,” said Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria, principal research fellow with UKM’s Institute of Ethnic Studies (KITA).
“One thing is absolutely certain, there is not going to be a hung Parliament,” declared Institute of Political and Economic Affairs (IKAPE) chairman Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad.
The former editor-in-chief of the New Straits Times stressed that the win would be contributed by the 172 Bumiputera-majority seats.
“As it stands today, no one who is not biased thinks it is achievable,” he said of Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) chances of obtaining as many as half of those seats.
Both of them claimed that the political landscape has much changed from the last elections in 2008.
“Umno is no longer in terminal disarray,” Abdullah said, stressing that Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim could no longer count on taking advantage of a diminished and demoralised BN.
Post-2008 also saw a less antagonised Indian community as a result of direct intervention by Najib’s administration, said Jayasooria.
According to him, the prime minister has tackled issues which are dear to the community, such as citizenship, Tamil schools, microbusiness and recruitment into the civil service.
“He has in many ways won the hearts and minds of a significant section of voters,” Jayasooria claimed.
Abdullah regarded the significant gain by PR in the last polls as a fluke, brought by a response against former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
“It was more of a protest against the inept Abdullah administration of broken promises, infantile behaviour and abuse of power.”
In his luncheon address at the same event, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has expressed hope that BN would regain a two-thirds majority in Parliament so that the government could implement its policies without resistance.

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