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‘Malaysians now politically mature’

 | August 28, 2012

Pakatan Rakyat's top leadership believes that voters will not buy into BN's dividing tactics, including the hudud issue.

PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Rakyat’s top leadership today said its gauge on voter sentiment signalled strong support based on the newfound political maturity of the electorate and is confident of winning in the upcoming national polls.

This explains the need by the ruling coalition to play on the hudud controversy, said PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution who predicted that Barisan Nasional will bet on the issue to divide the opposition bloc and call for elections once that happens.

“We are very confident of the support towards us. This is why BN will do everything it can including using the hudud controversy to divide us,” he told a press conference after holding the pact’s secretariat meeting here.

The Islamic penal law agenda has become a thorn in the pact’s side as certain leaders from secularist DAP and its Islamist ally PAS continue to lock horns openly on an issue that had threatened to break the fledgling coalition.

Media linked to the ruling coalition is now consistently harping on the friction in an apparent attempt to drive a wedge between them and hoping for a repeat of the opposition break-up just before the 2004 election that paved the way for a virtual BN wipe-out on its disparate rivals.

Saifuddin said the pact saw stark differences in voter reaction towards the longstanding controversy chiefly from the young electorate who are seen as more critical of the establishment.

Alternative Budget

The 13th general election will see about five million young voters hitting the ballot box for the first time. Their votes will be crucial for both BN and Pakatan.

“The maturity of the young voters is far different from before. Now they are more opinionated. They are now more critical of issues like affordable housing, good governance and the country’s economic conditions.

“The hudud issue is the last desperate point of BN-Umno (to sway voters from supporting us) but this will no longer work,” said Saifuddin.

Pakatan has promised to tackle most of the key issues affecting the young including clearing off the staggering education loans and reducing car prices and pundits believe their “sweet” proposals have helped sell the pact’s brand of politics among the youth.

BN chairman and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, whose popularity is floating around the 54% to 56% mark amid a backdrop of a surprisingly strong second quarter growth, is expected to unveil a counter-campaign with his 2013 Budget to be tabled later next month.

Saifuddin said Pakatan will reveal its alternative budget just before that and is expected to include details of existing proposals in what will likely be a final election push before they go into national polls.


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