KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 (Bernama) — The weekly ‘walkabout’ by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, has inspired other Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders at all levels to follow-suit.
The effect, besides giving a positive impact on the sincere effort by the BN leadership to get close to the people, it also allows BN leaders at the divisional level to get closer to the people in their respective areas.
A good example of the walkabout, carried out thrice a week by the BN leadership in the Wangsa Maju parliamentary constituency, according to its chairman, Datuk Dr Mohd Shafei Abdullah, is that “it has sort of changed the negative perception of voters towards BN”.
“If previously, some voters felt that there was no effort made by us to know them better, now, they no longer feel distant.
“In fact, they accept us and want to listen to us,” he told Bernama here recently.
A Bernama survey to the “Sarapan dan Minum Petang” (Breakfast and Tea) programme carried out there, involving all leaders of BN component parties there, revealed that it was well-received by the people of all races and they took the opportunity to know their leaders.
While enjoying the delicacies served at the function, the residents mingled with the leaders and made known their hopes and aspiration for the BN government, as well as the problems they were facing, and seeking verification on criticisms hurled by the opposition.
Mohd Shafei, who is political secretary to the Finance Minister, said most of the complaints from residents concerned commercial areas, houses in need of repair, blocked drains, funeral parlours for the non-Muslims, uptown business licence and house ownership.
The Federal Territory Umno Information chief said most of the complaints had been resolved, including a request by residents of Taman Melati for their residential buildings to be re-painted.
“All the 55 residential blocks in the area have been repainted and facilities repaired using the RM5 million allocation announced by the deputy prime minister on Nov 16 last year.
“On problems pertaining to business licence, about 100 licences were issued to uptown traders last year.
“As for the funeral parlours, the deputy prime minister has announced on March 2 that the federal government is providing the allocation for the purpose,” he added.
Several residents when met by Bernama said the friendly and open attitude of the government leaders, by setting aside protocol, made it easier for the people to approach them.
“We are happy. The 1Malaysia slogan of People First and Performance Now is good. We feel that we are given priority,” said a resident who asked to be identified only as Zulkifli.
Another resident, Kenny Rajoo, said he realised now that the 1Malaysia concept was not a mere rhetoric.
Shafei said following the programme carried out, there was increasing support from the people for the government and BN.
Wangsa Maju MIC division leader Mohan Pillay and Federal Territory Gerakan executive secretary Chan Cheok Wai, who were present, concurred with Shafei on the matter.
Mohd Shafei said programmes, including religious activities, were also carried out for the various target groups, like the fence-sitters, youths and opposition supporters.
On BN’s dismal performance in the 2008 general election, Mohd Shafei attributed it to among others, the attitude of BN leaders in taking lightly problems facing the people, besides focusing only on the Malays.
“We also learn that we should not work only during elections,” he added.
He expressed confidence on BN winning back at least four of the parliamentary seats it lost to the opposition, as well as retain the Setiawangsa, Labuan and Putrajaya seats.
“If these seats are given to Umno, there is a higher chance of BN winning them because we have been to suraus patronised mostly by the opposition supporters and they have pledged to support BN if Umno is given to contest the seats,” he added.
Last year, the Wangsa Maju Umno demanded the return of the Wangsa Maju parliamentary seat for it to contest in the coming 13th general election.
The Wangsa Maju parliamentary constituency, covering 1,596 sq km, has 64,583 voters, comprising Malays (54 per cent), Chinese (36 per cent), Indian (8 per cent and others (2 per cent).
About 13,000 of them are new voters.
Wangsa Maju parliamentar constituency is previously considered a BN stronghold, but fell to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) candidate, Wee Choo Keong, in the 2008 general election.
Wee defeated BN candidate, Datuk Yew Teong Look, from MCA, with a 150-vote majority.
However, on May 14, 2010, Wee quit PKR and is now an Independent Member of Parliament.
Meanwhile, Mohan Pillay also shared Shafei’s sentiment with the Indian community having expressed their desire to see Wangsa Maju under BN.
Chan said the Chinese community had also lost faith in the opposition parties for failing to keep the promises they made in the last general election.
“What we should do now is to work hard,” he added.
Source : Bernama