Former Finance Minister and long-time UMNO Treasurer (Tun) Daim Zainuddin – who had predicted the fall of Barisan Nasional (BN) in Penang, Selangor and Kedah in the 2008 general election – has looked into his crystal ball again.The view isn’t exactly rosy for the Federal ruling coalition in the next polls, according to an exclusive interview with Chinese daily Nanyang Siang Pauthat was published today.
Daim said he expects an easy victory for BN only in Johor, Malacca and Pahang.The key recapturing Kedah and Selangor from Pakatan Rakyat, he said, is to find a suitable leadership line-up.
To keep Terengganu and Sabah, a united UMNO will be essential, but retaining Perak will be an uphill battle for BN, Daim commented.In Negri Sembilan, one of Pakatan’s frontline states where BN only rules with a six-seat majority, Daim said the state BN must resolve some specific problems.
Although he did not elaborate on the issues, it is known that a suitable candidate must be found to fill the Menteri Besar’s post because the incumbent, Mohamad Hasan, is likely to move to a Federal Government post.
“The Prime Minister and other key leaders have done enough. Their current situation is that of ‘generals without soldiers’. Where are BN’s soldiers? The leaders at division and branch level must be more proactive in engaging the people.”
What Najib currently needs, he commented, is a team that is on the same page with him.
“In parliamentary elections, depending on a single person, the prime minister, is not going to be enough for success. BN needs a team. The Prime Minister has done enough, but the problem is that people cannot see his team. He needs to tell the people where his team is.” The UMNO veteran advised Najib to be more determined in cutting out the deadwood.
A close colleague of former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Daim was UMNO Treasurer from 1984-2001. He served as Finance Minister from 1984-1991 and as Minister with Special functions and Executive Director, National Economic Action Council (NEAC) in the Prime Minister’s Department in 1998, before being re-appointed as Finance Minister in 1999. He retired in 2001.
A year before the 12th general election, Daim had warned that BN would lose Penang, Selangor and Kedah.His ‘prophecy’ came true when BN was hit by a ‘political tsunami’ on March 8, 2008, losing not just five states then but also its two-thirds majority in Parliament.