KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 16 — The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) is confident of winning at least 145 parliamentary seats in Election 2013, including recapturing several Umno seats lost in 2008, say sources.
The Malaysian Insider understands that BN’s projections are about 10 seats above surveys done by Malaysian intelligence agencies, which say the ruling coalition is only sure of 135 seats, five below the 140 won in Election 2008. BN now has 136 seats in the 222-seat Parliament.
“We can win at least 145 seats according to briefings made to the leadership,” a BN source told The Malaysian Insider.
The number is still below the key two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat that BN has enjoyed until the elections in March 2008, and used to push key laws without support from the opposition bench.
BN will need to win 148 seats to have the super-majority in the coming elections which must be called by April 28.
It is learnt Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the BN chairman who is bidding for his first personal mandate, is confident of winning back such seats as Parit Buntar, Bukit Gantang and Kuala Selangor, which were all lost with wafer-thin majorities.
“PM Najib has expressed confidence that we can win in most of the seats we had lost as they are all Umno seats,” said another source, who attended a briefing recently.
BN’s historic losses of the parliamentary super-majority and four states in Election 2008 were widely blamed on former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who resigned in April 2009 in favour of Najib.
Since then, Najib has introduced a slew of initiatives and has promised a slate of “winnable candidates” to win over support for BN, which has ruled since independence as the three-party Alliance before enlarging itself to include other parties in 1974 and changing its name.
Najib remains more popular than his party although his approval rating fell to 63 per cent last December, down from 65 per cent in November, the lowest since he received 59 per cent support in August 2011, the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research said last month. The survey included 1,018 voters and had a margin of error of about 3 per cent.
To ramp up support, Najib visited Perak yesterday, just after Sabah on Wednesday and Thursday, and Johor on Tuesday as part of his nationwide tour before calling elections. The country’s sixth prime minister has visited all 13 states but is focusing on a few states to ensure victory for his coalition.
He had told reporters in Sabah that Parliament will only be dissolved when everyone is ready for the polls
“Very soon, very soon, do the job first, do not worry.
“We want the people to understand that a vote for BN is a vote for the country’s transformation agenda and a vote for peace and stability for a brighter future,” the prime minister said.
A clear indication that elections could be held sooner than later is the Election Commission’s (EC) announcement today that the latest electoral rolls will be gazetted by February 22. The last gazetted rolls had some 13.3 million voters, including 3.1 million new voters.