BATU PAHAT, Feb 27 — Barisan Nasional (BN) does not view the situation of being involved in 35 four-cornered fights in the Johor state election as an advantage for the party to score easy wins, said BN chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said BN was confident about its own strength and not too concerned about the number of candidates vying for a seat.

“The winds of change have begun to blow in Johor, not only among the Malays … support from Indian and Chinese voters especially in urban areas has started to shift to BN candidates,” he told reporters after attending a gathering with the people at the Ayer Hitam Barat voting district centre here today.

Of the 56 seats up for grabs in the polls, two constituencies namely Kempas and Tiram see seven-cornered fights, four are six-cornered contests, eight are five-cornered, 35 are four-cornered, and seven are three-cornered.

Ahmad Zahid, who is Umno president, said the BN Manifesto to unveiled soon would give hope to the younger generation it would include an offer of second-generation homes by the state government for Felda settlers.

He said BN was offering Johor people a new deal by fielding more than 70 per cent new faces who could prove to be a game-changer for the state.

“Although they will be facing other candidates of equivalent standard in terms of age, academic qualification and new faces, BN's record of having provided 14 Mentri Besar in Johor gives us the confidence to form the state government,” he added.

Early voting for the Johor election is on March 8 and polling is on March 12.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid said BN would propose implementing a new minimum wage for Johor if it gets the mandate to form the state government.

This was important to protect the interests of the people especially low-income workers, he said.

Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan had said the government was proposing to increase the minimum wage to RM1,500 a month by the end of this year. 

In Johor Baru, BN Advisory Board chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said no matter what, BN still has to work hard to ensure victory.

“The more the merrier. We may think more candidates will increase BN’s chances but we cannot be too optimistic and need to work hard and offer the best agenda to the rakyat.

“We must be humble; we are seeking the people’s mandate. We leave it to the people to make a smart assessment,” he told reporters at Taman Cempaka today.

He was visiting Taman Cempaka together with Johor Umno deputy chairman Johor Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed and Pulai Umno division deputy chief Datuk Ramlee Bohani, who is the BN candidate for the Kempas seat.

Najib said the good reception he received from Taman Cempaka residents showed that support for BN was increasing.

Kempas, in the heart of Johor Bahru city, is seeing a seven-cornered fight involving Ramlee, Johor Wanita PKR chief Napsiah Khamis Maharan, Nur Faizal Abdullah of Perikatan Nasional, Nornekman Osman of Parti Pejuang Tanah Air, and independent candidates Mohd Azwan Abd Rahman, Mohd Hambali Munadi and Mohd Suhimi A Rahman. — Bernama