News analysis

A week before Malaysia votes, BN struggles to control election narrative

Barisan Nasional chief Zahid Hamidi’s unpopularity is proving to be a liability that a disjointed and poorly funded campaign has been unable to overcome. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
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KUALA LUMPUR - Barisan Nasional (BN) chief Ahmad Zahid Hamidi sat down on Wednesday morning in Kuala Lumpur with top editors from Malaysia’s key news media, imploring them to provide extensive coverage of the ruling coalition’s election manifesto.

But the meeting at the headquarters of Umno, BN’s linchpin party, came too late – two days after the manifesto was unveiled. A second indicator that BN’s election campaign has not been received enthusiastically was the sudden appointment the same day of veteran former minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek as election communications chief.

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