28 Perak 'hot seats' identified

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IPOH: Six parliamentary seats and 22 state seats in Perak are considered to be hot spots for both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat in the coming general election.

These constituencies, in a special analysis done by BN based on the 2008 election results, have been classified as grey areas where the opposition parties have a 50 per cent chance of winning.

"An election is a game of numbers and winning is no coincidence but based on how successful we are in convincing voters and getting them out to vote," said a PKR insider.

Perak has 24 parliamentary seats and 59 state seats. In the 2008 general election, BN won 13 parliamentary seats but in the state seats, BN lost out to the PKR-DAP-- PAS coalition which formed the state government with a simple majority of 31 to 28 seats.

However, nine months later, Hee Yit Fong (DAP-Jelapang), Mohd Osman Jailu (PKR-Changkat Jering) and Jamaluddin Mat Radzi (PKRBehrang) resigned from their parties to become BN-friendly that led to the fall of the PR state government.

In the latest figures made available on the electoral rolls, Perak has 654,706 (45%) Malay voters, 522,664 (38%) Chinese, 156,615 (12%) Indian, and 27,016 (2%) orang asli voters.

State BN claimed that the parliamentary seats of Lenggong, Padang Rengas, Tambun, Parit, Pasir Salak, all held by BN-Umno as safe.

The other safe seat is BNMCA's Tanjung Malim, while Taiping, Ipoh Timur, Ipoh Barat, Batu Gajah, Beruas and Teluk Intan had been classified as the black or opposition strongholds to the extent that BN campaigners are told to "forget about these constituencies and don't waste time on them" but to concentrate on the grey areas where the chances of winning are bright.

Five seats in the grey areas are held by BN -- Lumut, won by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha, Kampar (held by Deputy Home Minister Datuk Lee Chee Leong), Kuala Kangsar (Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz), Tapah (Deputy Federal Territory Minister Datuk M. Saravanan), and Bagan Datoh (Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi).

The other six are held by the Opposition: Parit Buntar (PAS), Bukit Gantang (PAS), Bagan Serai (Independent), Sungai Siput (PSRM), Gopeng (PKR), and Bukit Gantang (PAS).

As for the state seats, BN considers 15 seats as its white areas with 22 grey and 22 black seats.

PR needs only to secure eight seats in the grey areas to win a simple majority of 30 of the 59 state seats.

BN, on the other hand, has a tougher task to win 15 seats in the grey areas to control the state.

The state seat of Chendering, the last bastion of BNMCA won by Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon, is considered a safe seat for BN.

In 2008, Mah polled 7,451 votes against PKR's 4,059 votes to win with a majority of 3,392 votes. In the coming elections, it is speculated that PKR will field orang asli activist and lawyer Bah Tony to take on Mah. Chenderiang has 7,455 (35.2%) Malay voters, Chinese 6,689 (31.6%), Indian 2,676 (12.6%) and orang asli 4,298( 20.3%).

Perak MCA state liaison committee chairman Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, who is also the MCA president, had told MCA members to organise programmes aimed at getting closer to the people.

The coming general election is a do-or-die battle for MCA, Dr Chua had repeatedly told his supporters at many party functions or meetings.

PR, on the other hand, had started its ground work soon after 2008 by organising many ceramah on current issues.

Voters in Perak are more aware and conscious about the political development in the state and national politics since the last general election and the Perak crisis.

Retired senior government servant Ng Peng Kong said most voters had already made up their minds.

"They are just waiting to cast their votes," Ng said, adding that parties that had good ideas, good candidates and good plans would win.

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