SHAH ALAM, April 20 ― Barisan Nasional’s (BN) chances of finally winning back Selangor after a decade with Pakatan Harapan rests on the calibre of their candidates, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib has said.
Speaking to Malay Mail during a recent interview, Muhammad, who recently rejoined Umno after spending four years backing the federal Opposition coalition ― Pakatan Rakyat and Pakatan Harapan ― said that they did “nothing significant” in the ten years they have ruled the state.
“We have water problem here, there is transportation problem. I have heard that investors are fleeing Selangor because of bureaucracy. I have also received complaints from property developers regarding Selangor policies that are causing higher costs and eventually higher house prices,” the former Selangor mentri besar said.
“Selangor became a developed state in 2005. All in infrastructure was already here when we (BN) developed this state. What did they do (since taking over)? Nothing significant,” he added.
Muhammad said that Selangor voters are ready to change the state government, but want BN to provide a better alternative.
“In 2008, there was a lot of anger that boiled over, even from the Malays. BN did not lose the state because PKR was popular, but rather because people wanted to reject BN and threw their votes towards the Opposition,” he said.
“In 2013, BN did not offer a good alternative, in terms of their candidates, so the people said, ‘You are not ready to rule again’. It is up to us now, to convince the people that we have the right alternative,” he added.
Muhammad admitted that declaring a BN MB candidate for Selangor early could help convince voters, but left the decision to the party leadership.
“We need to offer candidates of the same quality as the Opposition does. Look at their candidates, they have professionals, they have calibre. People need to see our candidates as being on par with them,” he said.
Muhammad, who was MB for 11 years, said that Pakatan were not “invincible” in Selangor and also did not rule out a possibility of a unity government with PAS in Selangor should there be a hung state assembly.
“Anything is possible, it is definitely not impossible,” he said.
Muhammad, known popularly as Mat Taib, rejoined Umno late last year after spending two years each with PAS and PKR, and has been helping BN campaign to win the state back.
BN had also roped another ex-MB, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, to help in its campaign in Selangor.