All geared up and ready for battle

PETALING JAYA: Political parties are all geared up for battle, armed with war rooms and operations rooms to plan and carry out their campaigns for the coming general election.

For Umno, reports on issues surrounding the elections and voter sentiments nationwide are being channelled to a war room that’s been up and running for the past year, said a party source.

Apart from the war room, which allows the party to centrally plan and coordinate its campaign and allocation of resources, Umno has also set up operations rooms in all constituencies the party plans to contest in.

Party workers manning the operations rooms have been appointed and trained. Each Umno operations room is led by the respective constituency’s party division chief.

“We’re just waiting for the word ‘go’ to activate the operations rooms,” said the source.

Barisan Nasional leaders have already started to launch election machineries at state and parliament constituency level.

MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the party’s war and operations rooms at every seat the party is contesting are now in high gear.

“We have mobilised our people to face the general election and many of them have gone beyond what we expected. We hope that this momentum can be maintained.

“The preparatory work for our machinery has been very good so far. The president and I have gone around the country and conducted many trainings through our party schools and divisions,” said Dr Wee, adding that in situ trainings were also carried out for the party’s polling agents, counting agents and barung (booth) agents to counter lies by the Opposition such as the “blackout” in 2013.

He said MCA is well-prepared this time and the party is ever-ready to face any challenges whenever the general election is called.

Gerakan secretary-general Datuk Liang Teck Meng said Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has personally inspected the party’s election machinery preparation.

“I can’t reveal our strategy but we are just waiting for the Prime Minister to call for the elections,” said Liang.

Parti Bersatu Sabah secretary-general Datuk Johnny Mositun said his party members were eager to get on with the job.

“Whether it is to fight for 60 state seats or 73 seats, we will prevail,” said Mositun, referring to the proposed redelineation of electoral boundaries, which, if approved, will add 13 state seats to the existing 60 in Sabah.

For Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malay­sia (Pribumi), funding is a challenge for the relatively new opposition party set up in September 2016.

“The party leaders are, however, making sacrifices to help ensure the machinery is properly funded and we feel that despite this challenge, we have an edge due to strong support from the people,” said Pribumi vice-president Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman.

Pribumi, he said, is benefiting from the leadership experience of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who chairs the party and Pakatan Harapan Opposition grouping.

“People think we are having a very tough time organising for the election, but even I find it surprising how decisions from the Pakatan leadership chaired by Dr Mahathir are well accepted by the parties.”

The solidarity has allowed Pakatan to resolve seat distribution among parties very early in the game, he said.

PKR vice-president Tian Chua, meanwhile, said his party is better prepared compared to the last elections in 2013.

He said there is a greater certainty this time compared to the last general election which saw many false speculations in the run-up to the poll.

“We have a schedule on when our operations rooms all need to be activated, and what’s certain now is that the 100-day countdown to the poll has definitely started,” he said.

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Politics , GE14 , Barisan Nasional