MCA’s Lee Hack Teck says hard work is needed to “capture the imagination of fence sitters”.
He said diehard supporters for each of the two blocs consisted of 30% of voters, but Pakatan had the edge when it came to fence sitters.
BN could depend on only 30% to 40% of the fence sitters and would need 20% to 30% more to win, he told FMT.
He said there was a fighting chance for BN to make that gain before the 13th general election, but it would be “really tough”.
“If it can capture the imagination of fence sitters, BN has a good chance,” said Lee, who is MCA’s state religious bureau chief and vice-chairman for BN’s state public service bureau.
In the 2008 election, BN won 11 of the 40 state seats in Penang—and only through Umno. Gerakan, MCA and MIC were all wiped out.
However, BN leaders, especially from Umno, have over the past year been claiming that the coalition was capable of recapturing Penang in the coming election.
Lee agrees that BN was now on a surer footing than a couple of years ago, claiming that support for the coalition was growing as more people were beginning to trust the leadership of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
He said the federal government’s announcement that it would build affordable houses for the low-income group in Penang had gone down well with local residents.
He said people now believed that BN was far more honest, sincere, dedicated and determined to transform and reform the country, unlike Pakatan.
He said the appointment of Gerakan secretary general Teng Chang Yeow as Penang BN chairman last April was a timely confidence booster.
“Teng has proven to be the right leader to lead Penang BN,” he said.
He said both Najib and Teng had strengthened BN unity, which was in shambles previously, and solidified the coalition’s objectives into one cohesive goal.
He added that the momentum of support, especially from the Chinese business community, would increase considerably if Najib were to restore Penang’s status as a free port.
He said a substantial swing from the majority Chinese voters would be crucial in realising BN’s dream of recapturing Penang. “But we have to work hard for it.”