Masing: Tough for BN to win back Penang, Selangor, Kelantan in GE14

james-masingKUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional should be realistic enough to admit that states such as Selangor, Penang and Kelantan are very difficult for BN to win in the next general election, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Dr James Jemut Masing said.

The Borneo Post quoted him as saying: “But we are very sure that BN can still continue to administer the country as BN will win enough seats to do so.”

He said BN was looking at its strength nationwide, where it could win and where it was weak.

Masing was among about 300 BN leaders who had attended a BN retreat at Institut Latihan Memperkasa Ummah at Janda Baik, Pahang, over the last weekend. The heads of the 13 BN component parties nationwide were present at the three-day closed-door retreat.

PRS deputy president Joseph Entulu Belaun, meanwhile, was quoted by The Borneo Post as saying that preparations for the 14th general election were discussed at the retreat.

Many see this as a sign that the GE14 is on the horizon. Although the next general election must be called by August next year when the government’s current five-year term ends, many expect it to be held this year.

An earlier Star report had quoted MCA president Liow Tiong Lai as saying the retreat was structured like a training course aimed at enhancing the esprit de corps and cooperation among BN parties.

“While we did not touch a lot on the detailed preparations for the 14th general election, I would summarise the three days and two nights as a refresher course for all of us to come together as a team to face the adversaries,” he was quoted as saying by The Star.

The Star quoted BN communications director Abdul Rahman Dahlan as saying BN chairman Najib Razak and Umno deputy president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi were active participants in all the sessions held.

“This is the fourth Barisan retreat held and in all honesty, the spirit of brotherhood and camaraderie now is stronger than ever – not just at the national level but at state level, including in Sabah and Sarawak.”

He was confident the differences of opinion over PAS president Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill to amend the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act would not affect BN solidarity.

Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) president Joseph Kurup was reported to have said: “We will be working more closely to make sure that we move forward as one team for the general election.”

The Star reported that when asked if specifics such as seat distribution among component parties were discussed, Kurup said: “We were told what we need to do to be ready but as for the details, I believe they will be discussed later.”