Barisan Nasional (BN) believes that it can win 18 of the 28 seats up for grabs in the Melaka state election to form the state government on its own.
BN election director and deputy chairman Mohamad Hasan said this confidence was based on studies conducted by the party during the campaign period, in addition to data which showed that voters had consistently voted for BN from the 11th to the 14th general elections.
“If possible, we want to win 20 seats… we will try to retain the 13 seats (won in GE14) and our target is to add five more seats, making it 18 seats.
“But if we can cross the line with 15 seats (for a simple majority), we will be thankful for being able to form the government on our own.
“To have a stable government, we must form the government on our own strength. This is so that we won’t continue to be held to ransom with constant threats of withdrawal (of support). As long as such a situation persists, the government will not be stable,” he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama today.
BN is contesting all the 28 seats in the upcoming election with Umno standing in 20 constituencies, MCA in seven and MIC in one.
In GE14, Umno won the Kuala Linggi, Tanjung Bidara, Ayer Limau, Lendu, Taboh Naning, Asahan, Sungai Udang, Pantai Kundor, Ayer Molek, Rim, Serkam, Merlimau and Sungai Rambai seats.
Asked if BN was willing to form a coalition government with other parties if it could not get a majority on its own, Mohamad said the party is prepared to explore cooperation with any party, not just Perikatan Nasional (PN).
“We are open to cooperating with anyone… not just PN. Why is it that others can cooperate with all but Umno is not allowed? Let’s not shut the door tight,” said Mohamad, who is Umno deputy president.
Mohamad also said BN had taken a bold step in fielding young candidates in this election to meet voters’ aspirations.
“I did not want to indulge in rhetoric by saying we wanted to promote young leaders but still fielding familiar faces. If we did this, young people would desert Umno. (Then) other parties like DAP, PKR, Bersatu, PAS would entice them. Umno would be left in a cave – we cannot allow this.
“So this state election shows that Umno is truly transforming the party. This is what I’ve done. True, this is a big gamble but this is the face of Umno I want to project,” he added.
Asked about BN’s chances in the hot seat of Tanjung Bidara, he said: “It’s a tough fight. I’m not saying the seat will go to Bersatu.”
Tanjung Bidara is seeing a three-cornered fight involving Melaka Umno chairman Ab Rauf Yusoh, Masjid Tanah MP Mas Ermieyati Samsudin of PN and Zainal Hassan of Pakatan Harapan (PH).
On the Asahan, Duyong and Gadek seats which are witnessing six-cornered fights, Mohamad said the situation gives BN an advantage.
Asked about the Muafakat Nasional (MN) charter involving Umno and PAS, he said although the two parties are not cooperating in the Melaka polls, they could still work together in the future, including on matters concerning the unity of the ummah.
The state polls were called following the dissolution of the Melaka state legislative assembly on Oct 4 after four assemblymen withdrew their support for Chief Minister Sulaiman Md Ali.
PN and PH, the other two coalitions in the fray, are also contesting all the 28 seats.
Polling is on Nov 20.