Malaysia's ruling coalition BN aims for supermajority in Parliament again

Umno-led Barisan Nasional does not simply want a win of a simple majority in the upcoming general election, said acting Umno deputy president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. PHOTO: BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition is aiming high in the upcoming general election, by targeting to win back its supermajority in Parliament that it lost in 2008.

Acting Umno deputy president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Umno-led BN does not simply want a win of a simple majority in the national polls that must be called by August next year.

"We want to command two-thirds of the parliamentary seats with an even bigger majority," he said on Tuesday (Dec 5), at the joint launching of the annual meeting of Umno's three wings.

The 13-party BN coalition lost the two-thirds majority in the 222-seat federal Parliament in the 2008 and 2013 polls.

BN has 132 seats in the House - 16 short of the 148-ward supermajority.

Umno leaders felt they have turned a corner, after surviving two years of internal turmoil caused by the financial scandal involving state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

BN is also happily faced with a divided opposition, with the opposition Islamist party shunning the four-party main opposition alliance.

Datuk Seri Zahid urged the leaders of the Women, Youth and Puteri (young women) wings to ensure the votes of the party's hardcore supporters remain in its favour.

"Make sure that 100 per cent of their votes remain in our favour,"he said.

Voting isn't compulsory in Malaysia, so although Umno boasts it has a 3.5 million membership, the party at each polls has to coax its own members to come out to vote.

The party's five-day annual assembly started on Tuesday (Dec 5).

Describing the meeting as a platform to hear out debates and receive mandate for the "survival of the nation", Mr Zahid said Umno's politics embraces all races.

"Umno does not hold a narrow agenda in fighting solely for the fate of the Malays," he said, drawing examples of deploying assets in the aftermath of the Penang floods, a state that is governed by a Chinese-majority led opposition.

Mr Zahid also spoke on selection of candidates for the upcoming election.

As the last Umno assembly before the polls, party leaders have been jostling to be selected as electoral candidates.

Mr Zahid reminded them that "Umno practices the selection of those befitting the role. This includes candidates who are winnable, likeable, capable, trustable and intelligent."

The opposition last week named ex-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad as interim prime minister should it win in the general election. The opposition is banking on voter anger over cost of living issues and the 1MDB scandal that is still making headlines around the world.

In a rallying cry, Mr Zahid called out to delegates: "Umno shall not lose! Umno shall not be defeated!"

"We shall not allow Putrajaya to change hands," he said, referring to the administrative capital.

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