Parties ready to fire up machinery to face state polls

Mohd Farhan Darwis

For the first time in history, Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional will work together in facing the state elections. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, June 1, 2023.

POLITICAL parties have begun hitting the ground canvassing for support ahead of the state elections in six states expected by early August.

Each has initiated its election machinery to gather data of constituents at district-level voting centres to facilitate campaigning as soon as the polls are called.

The grassroots leaders of these parties told The Malaysian Insight they have also identified sites for their operations centres and would start working out of these locations soon.

Selangor PKR youth deputy chief Muhammad Iman Haziq Mohamad Hamizi said they were already focused on incumbent constituencies with their sights set on fence-sitters who voted for Perikatan Nasional (PN) during the general election last November.

“Although we have support between Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Harapan (PH) in the unity government at federal level, we saw many BN supporters voting for PN in the last general election. We are now targeting those fence-sitters.

“We have been working for a long time in terms of election machinery preparation. We have held retreats and the youth have also been given tasks. We are all focused on our respective areas and branches,” he said.

Iman, who is a youth leader from Ampang, said his party has identified locations for the main war room (BGU) in each area and will begin moving officially this week.

“BGU is a war room for planning work to face the elections. We expect the state assemblies to be dissolved in the last week of June, with elections held within 60 days after that.

“The BGU will be a one-stop centre for all state polls-related work acting as the campaign distribution point for materials, strategic command and for identifying white and black areas,” he said.

“We have to be prepared even before the candidates are announced. Now we don’t know who the candidates are but we have to be ready,” he added.

Selangor PKR is looking to win over fence-sitters who voted for Perikatan Nasional in the last general election. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, June 1, 2023.

Selangor Umno Youth chief Mohd Imran Tamrin, meanwhile, said his party machinery, especially the party’s youth wings, had started collecting voter data in their respective areas.

He also said Umno will open its war rooms in all 22 parliamentary constituencies in Selangor.

“These 22 war rooms will coordinate with the respective state seats under them.

“Campaign materials such as posters, banners, buntings are not available yet but the party machinery has so far collected the data of each voter through members of the party’s JR (Jalinan Rakyat) network,” he said when contacted recently.

Under the JR network, members – largely from the Wanita Umno wing – would collect the data from each village and housing area before compiling them into big data for the party to identify their potential voters.

PH and BN will work together in facing the state elections this time, with PN being the main opposition.

Polls will be held in PH-controlled Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Penang, and in PAS/PN-controlled Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu.

Bersatu supreme council member Dr Muhammad Faiz Na’aman says Perikatan Nasional will open its war rooms once the state assemblies are dissolved. – Facebook pic, June 1, 2023.

PN to wait for dissolution

Meanwhile, Bersatu supreme council member Dr Muhammad Faiz Na’aman said PN – which consists of Bersatu, PAS and Gerakan – will open its war rooms when the state assemblies are dissolved.

However, there are some areas that have mobilised war rooms informally and held informal discussions in preparation for the elections, he said.

“In general, grassroots operations are as usual. There are no major problems faced. The operations room will only open when we are completely dissolved.

“We will launch our war rooms but there is no specific date set. Operations will begin after the dissolution of the state assemblies. Once candidates have been announced, we will surely have our war rooms running.

“But some are already functioning unofficially. Just like in the recent general election, some open early and some a little later, according to their respective areas,” said Faiz.

He said the main operations centres will receive election and campaign materials from the coalition’s information section, which will then be distributed to targeted voters.

“Each area has a different way of campaigning. I am in the Bersatu information bureau so our focus is on building the narrative on current issues and answering or triggering an issue. It’s more about the use of social media and ‘countering’ propaganda.

“All the information gathered in the central information department will be disseminated to the voters by the media and communications department,” he said.

He said the main operations centres will also function as a one-stop centre for local voters to find information regarding the state elections. – June 1, 2023.

Sign up or sign in here to comment.