POKOK SENA – Pokok Sena UMNO division chief Datuk Said Ali Syed Rastan is confident Barisan Nasional (BN) has a bright chance of winning the Pokok Sena Parliamentary constituency and the three Bukit Lada, Bukit Pinang and Derga state seats at the 14th General Election (GE14).
He said the confidence was based on the spirit and work commitment of the UMNO machinery and component parties who often go down to the field to approach the people in the area since four years ago other than the support and positive participation received in every BN programme.
“UMNO had won only the Bukit Lada state seat. God willing, we are confident this time in GE14. I see quite a significant change in the working spirit of the party members and BN component parties whether Malay, Chinese or Indians.
“With this spirit that we have now, I am confident we will be able to wrest back all the seats in the Pokok Sena Parliamentary constituency which we lost in the last general election,” he told Bernama here.
He said Kedah BN had been focusing on the electoral roll and solving the issues of the local communities especially the welfare of the people in the area including single mothers, senior citizens, the handicapped and others for the past four years.
According to Said Ali, welfare aid had also been given comprehensively regardless of race and political ideology despite the area being a PAS stronghold.
“For example, we give schooling aid, aid to enter university, I see such things impact on the communities. They don’t see UMNO as a political party merely championing the welfare of members but as a ruling party we must tackle the problems of the people comprehensively,” he said.
He said BN had never marginalised the seats in which it had lost despite winning only in the Bukit Lada state seat but brought in numerous developments including plans to implement the 1Malaysia People’s Housing Project (PR1MA) and setting up a Rural Transformation Centre (RTC) in the Parliamentary constituency in the future.
“Pokok Sena is a new district which still lacks many federal departments and agencies. In our GE14 manifesto we focus on proposing to the federal government to set up an RTC in Pokok Sena. At present, the people of Pokok Sena go to government departments in Alor Setar or Padang Terap,” he said.
Asked on the chances of incumbent Pokok Sena Member of Parliament Datuk Mahfuz Omar at GE14, Said Ali said although Mahfuz won the seat for two terms it did not pave the way for the Amanah vice-president to repeat his win in GE14.
He said Mahfuz’s chance of winning in the seat could be quite slim as the former PAS vice president was no longer with the party.
Asked on the possibility of PAS winning in the parliamentary seat since Pokok Sena was a stronghold of PAS, Said Ali did not deny the party was BN’s closest rival to win the seat in GE14.
“Traditionally, the majority of Malay voters in Pokok Sena are still with UMNO. PAS was and still is number two until today. PAS won in Pokok Sena at GE13 merely because there was a Chinese tsunami. of the 14,000 Chinese votes, we only received five per cent.
“The decider previously was that 95 per cent of Chinese voters voted Pakatan Harapan which contributed to their win. Thank god, now I see quite a significant change in terms of Chinese votes. We get a significant number if not even half, which can offset the shortcoming previously
Said Ali said the candidates who would be fielded by BN for the Parliamentary seats and three state seats were candidates who were close to the people.
“We are confident that the candidates who will be announced soon are candidates who can approach the people. Those we pick as candidates are those who can face the people and help them solve any problem they have,” he said.
The Pokok Sena Parliamentary constituency has about 86,000 voters with the Malays accounting for 81.44 per cent, Chinese (15.45 per cent), Indians (2.51 per cent) and others (0.6 per cent).
During GE13, Mahfuz, represented PAS and won with a 3,935-vote majority to beat BN candidate Shahlan Ismail who received 32,263 votes to Mahfuz’s 36,198 votes.
In Bukit Lada, BN candidate Ahmad Sudin obtained 12,664 votes to beat PAS’ candidate Ahmad ‘Izzat Mohamad Shauki who garnered 11,340 votes with a 1,324-vote majority.
In Bukit Pinang, Romani Wan Salin (PAS) garnered 12,152 votes to beat Mohd Mukhtar Noor (BN) who received 10,480 votes with a majority of 1,672 votes.
In Derga state constituency, which saw a three-corner fight, Tan Kok Yew (DAP) won 10,358 votes, his challengers Cheah Soon Hai (BN) and Abdul Fisol Mohd Isa (Berjasa) each obtained only 9,202 and 2,061 votes. Tan obtained a majority 1,156 votes.
Mahfuz is expected to defend the Pokok Sena Parliamentary constituency as an Amanah candidate representing Pakatan Harapan while PAS was gambling on a new face, Kedah football legend Muhamad Radhi Mat Din at GE14. The BN candidate would be announced tomorrow. – BERNAMA