ALOR SETAR: Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Harapan must focus their election campaign in Kedah on solving local issues, like the state’s water woes, to win in the polls, says a BN leader.
Kedah BN chief Mahdzir Khalid said the two coalitions must come up with a long-term solution to the state’s shortage of raw water supply.
He said this was a critical issue plaguing several districts as well as Langkawi island, and that failing to tackle the matter would badly affect Kedah’s tourism sector.
“We cannot afford to just think about solving day-to-day problems anymore,” he told FMT.
The former Padang Terap MP said Langkawi has been dependent on treated water from mainland Kedah through an undersea pipe built about 25 to 30 years ago.
Mahdzir said the tourist hotspot needed a second undersea pipe and other ways to increase its local water supply.
Last month, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi vowed that Kedah’s water problems would be resolved if BN and PH came to power in the state.
The state assemblies of Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Kelantan, Kedah and Terengganu are expected to be dissolved in the second half of June to pave the way for elections.
Benefit to Kedah
Mahdzir said BN and PH must show the people of Kedah how close ties between the federal and state governments would benefit them as opposed to being governed by PAS.
He said padi farmers, rubber tappers, oil palm smallholders and fisherman in Kedah will be able to boost their income through better cooperation with federal agricultural agencies.
The former Umno vice-president said that close ties between the state and federal governments would enable more foreign investments to be brought into Kedah, particularly into the Kulim Hi-Tech Industrial Park.
“We need to have enough data (to show voters) how many local talents would benefit when multinational companies come to invest in the Hi-Tech Park,” he said.
Mahdzir said BN and PH must also talk about how close collaboration between Kedah and Putrajaya could help in further developing Langkawi.
Meanwhile, political analyst Azizuddin Sani of Universiti Utara Malaysia said PH and BN must go all-out on social and mainstream media to “sell” the premise of a unity government in Kedah as an alternative to the current Sanusi Nor-led state administration.
Azizuddin said Kedah folk were aware that policies and planned developments would be better executed when the state enjoyed good ties with the federal government.
“Kedahans actually want a state government that is friendly with Putrajaya,” he told FMT.
“Many Kedahans are uncomfortable with the current Perikatan Nasional-led government that is seen to be quite confrontational with the federal government.”
Azizuddin added that the coalitions must start holding more ceramahs throughout the state now, instead of waiting for the election campaign period to begin.