UMNO began its quest to win back Selangor by taking its campaign to Kuang, which is right next door to Gombak, the seat held by Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali.
In the quiet town, about 100 supporters turned up to listen to Umno’s prodigal son and former menteri besar Muhammad Muhammad Taib speak.
Although Kuang comes under the Selayang parliamentary constituency, geographically, it is located next to Azmin’s federal seat. The state seats under Gombak are Batu Caves, Gombak Setia, and Ulu Kelang while Selayang houses Kuang, Rawang, and Taman Templar.
Muhammad, who recently rejoined Umno after failed stints in PKR and PAS, vowed to help Umno to win back Selangor.
The Umno team, minus state liaison chief Noh Omar, hit on Azmin’s “failure” to champion the Malay cause as menteri besar.
Muhammad said Azmin had failed to help Malays and was unfair to his own people.
“We have to go back to the old path as only Umno-Barisan Nasional takes good care of everyone. Chinese are happy, Indians are happy and Malays happiest,” said the 72-year-old leader.
He said Azmin and other opposition leaders were not doing anything extraordinary for the people of Selangor as all the major developments in the state came from Umno’s leadership prior to 2008.
“2008 was a year when many were not happy with a certain individual. So they tried to teach the person a lesson and voted for the opposition. In the end we lost Selangor. That cannot happen again. Selangor has to be returned to Umno,” said Muhammad.
He said everyone had to play their role as every vote counted.
Muhammad said he and other former menteris besar Khalid Ibrahim, Abu Hassan Omar, and Khir Toyo had met with Noh Omar and they had agreed to work together to help BN wrest Selangor from the opposition.
An Umno member who wished to be identified as Noraini said the Umno roadshow in Selangor would help to explain national issues to voters.
“It is good to have this roadshow. We cannot avoid it. Leaders have to go on a roadshow to talk,” said Noraini, who joined Umno in 1988.
Noraini confessed that the party was struggling to win young voters.
“It is difficult to read their sentiments because they have unlimited access to information,” said Noraini.
She said cost of living issues including the petrol hike had made her task of convincing voters to back Umno more difficult.
“There are many young people in Kuang. We have to take care of them. We have to know how to explain issues to them when they question the rising cost of living.
“I have to admit that it was much easier to explain why Anwar Ibrahim was punched in 1998 than it is to explain the rising cost of living to the public now,” said Noraini.
She said this was why Umno’s younger leaders needed to hit the ground more often.
“We have to win the heart of the young ones. Those of my age will definitely pick Umno. But it is hard with the younger generation. Like my children. Even though we stay in the same house, they probably will not be voting for Umno.
“So if Umno wants to win, it will have to come down to the ground,” she said.
Another Umno member, Mahad Yusof, 73, said he stayed loyal to the party because it was the only party that took care of the Malays.
“During the speech, I really like the part where he said Umno takes care of Malay interests. That caught my attention. If they continue at this rate, Umno can win back Selangor,” he said.
Also present during the roadshow were former Selangor PAS secretary Norman Toha and Kuang assemblyman Abdul Shukor Idrus.
The “Siri Penerangan Isu-Isu Semasa” series of roadshows are organised Umno Selangor in the run-up to the general election, which must be called by August.