SEREMBAN: Despite its poor showing in the Aug 12 state polls, Umno, however, did well in Negri Sembilan with Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan attributing it to the policies initiated by the Barisan Nasional government more than a decade ago.
The Umno deputy president said the people had not forgotten how they benefited from these policies which were for all races.
“For example, Negri Sembilan was the first state to reward graduates who scored a first class degree with a RM25,000 cash incentive to encourage them to further their studies.
“This initiative got so popular that we had to bring the amount down to RM5,000,” he said when contacted.
Mohamad, a former three-term mentri besar, defended the Rantau seat with a bigger majority of 10,280 votes.
In the just-concluded state polls, Umno contested 17 seats and won 14 in Negri Sembilan, while its coalition partners DAP bagged 11 seats, PKR (five) and Amanah (one).
Perikatan Nasional wrested five seats from the unity pact.
Mohamad said the people had not forgotten his administration’s Social Safety Net Policy which helped thousands of poor families to put food on the table.
He said these families were given a monthly cash aid and the objective was to help reduce hardcore poverty in the state.
“We also had a housing policy which benefitted those in the B40 category, as well as the bumiputra.
“These were all people-friendly policies,” he said, adding that housing developers were also told to increase the housing quota for bumiputra from 30% to 50% in their developments in 2015.
It was also during Mohamad’s time that the licence fee for petty traders and hawkers was waived.
The Malaysia Vision Valley project, a proposed development which spans across 153,411ha covering Seremban and Port Dickson, was another Barisan’s legacy aimed at transforming the state to be prosperous and sustainable by 2045.
The plan, which was continued by the Pakatan Harapan government after it took over the state in 2018, is expected to contribute up to 15% to the country’s gross domestic product once the development is completed.
“All these initiatives were for the betterment of the people including those in the Malay heartland,” he said.
State Umno chairman Datuk Seri Jalaluddin Alias said the party did well in the state polls as it had never neglected constituencies that it had lost previously.
“For us, it is not only the respective MPs or state assemblymen who are serving the people.
“Those in the top leadership to branch leaders and even at the village level, they all go down to the ground to meet the people and ensure their problems are addressed,” he said.
Jalaluddin, who won the Pertang seat, said even when Barisan lost in the 2018 state election for the first time, Umno never gave up on those who voted against the party.
“We did not neglect the voters although they did not vote for us. We kept serving them to show that we are here for them,” he said.
Citing an example, he said in 2018, Umno only won three of the five parliamentary seats it contested but made a clean sweep during the general election last year.
Jalaluddin said Umno also had a good track record of serving the non-Malays.
“When we help the Malays, we ensure other communities, including those in rural areas, are not neglected,” he said.
Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun said Umno did well as it had a solid base.
He said just like Pakatan, Umno commanded respect among the people as well.
“A small number of Umno members may have been upset for some reasons but overall, the party has a solid base,” he said.
Aminuddin said both Pakatan and Umno had played a balancing role and this too contributed to the good showing.
However, state Perikatan Nasional secretary Nazree Yunus claimed just like in the other five states, Umno’s influence in Negri Sembilan is waning.
“Umno won 14 seats as their supporters assumed the next MB may come from the party.
“We all saw how Umno took over the Lenggeng seat despite protests from Amanah. This only goes to show that the party is eyeing the top post,” he claimed.
Nazree said some voters probably saw Negri Sembilan as the last bastion for Umno and decided to vote for the party.
The voting pattern also showed declining support for Umno with the party winning with a razor thin majority in Juasseh and Kota, he said.
In Juasseh, Umno won with a 78-vote majority and in Kota with 135 votes.
It won Ampangan, Seri Menanti, Sg Lui, Klawang, Palong, Senaling, Jeram Padang and Lenggeng with majorities of between 329 and 693 votes.