KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak will lead a final push for Penang this year where 50,000 people are expected to turn up in a rally this morning, reinforcing his Barisan Nasional’s (BN) confidence of recapturing the island state.
The Malaysian Insider understands that the state BN is sure of winning at least 17 state seats and has an even chance of capturing five more, giving the coalition 22 seats in the 40-seat state assembly.
“The Penang BN is confident of getting back the state as the numbers show a sure 17 seats and an equal chance for five others,” a source told The Malaysian Insider.
The source said most of the wins will be among the Malay-majority seats in the mainland and backwaters of the state — an international manufacturing hub nestled among palm trees, tourist beaches and heritage buildings.
BN now only has 11 state seats through Umno as Gerakan, the MCA and MIC lost all their seats in Election 2008 which saw the DAP with allies PKR and PAS winning 29 seats.
Another source said state BN chairman Teng Chang Yeow has worked hard to ensure all component parties were working the ground to regain support from the voters although the DAP still holds sway in urban areas.
“There is confidence on the ground now but BN workers have to continue working hard until polling day to make sure we get back Penang,” the source said.
The prime minister is expected to reinforce the coalition’s message and make several announcements at the Promises Fulfilled Tour in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), including affordable housing under the 1 Malaysia People’s Housing programme (PR1MA).
The state BN has been harping on the issue, saying that most projects under the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) government has focused on high-end development, cashing in on the booming economy.
Najib is also expected to tour several other places during his day-long visit to the state, including the Bayan Baru market in Penang’s major industrial zone.
The other major event in Najib’s diary for the day is a walkabout at the Tanjung Tokong area for a housing project developed by UDA Holdings Bhd.
The project is the culmination of a 40-year-old promise made by Najib’s father, then Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein.
Tanjung Tokong Federal Village Security and Development Committee chairman Idris Bakar said this week Najib’s presence in the area will recall the nostalgic moment when Razak visited the area in 1972.
He said the residents were excited to meet the prime minister and hoped his presence would bring about positive changes in social development and community harmony.
“This is the moment the Tanjung Tokong residents have been waiting for and as a native of this area I warmly welcome his presence. In 1972, Datuk Seri Najib’s father, who was the prime minister at the time, came here and after 40 years, Najib is coming,” he told state news agency Bernama.