KUALA LUMPUR – Instead of merely asking for seats to contest in the next elections, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor advised Barisan Nasional (BN) politicians today to first prove their worth by actively engaging with their constituents.

The BN secretary-general and third-term Putrajaya MP incumbent said members from the coalition’s component parties are disconnected from the regular people and did not even visit the areas they wanted to represent.

“It seems that many BN workers are afraid to go to the affluent areas, the elite areas like in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Bangsar, Damansara Heights and so on. Why aren’t we talking to them? If we don’t connect with them how are we supposed to find out what they need?

“At the same time, when we asked some of our leaders to go for a house-to-house visit and deliver packets of rice for the poor, they opted for a townhall session. How are we supposed to understand the needs of the poor if we don’t see their living conditions?” asked the Federal Territories minister popularly known as Ku Nan.

Tengku Adnan who officiated the People’s Progressive Party (MyPPP) annual general meeting here this morning suggested that perhaps BN “has forgotten about a lot of things and has become complacent”.

He said house-to-house calls have traditionally been the forte of BN and its mainstay party Umno, compared to the Opposition.

Personal visits have almost always translated into electoral votes, especially in rural areas, he added.

MyPPP president Tan Sri M Kayveas later told reporters that his party will arrange its first townhall session in Bangsar next week.

Kayveas said he agreed with Tengku Adnan’s assessment that many of Malaysia’s “elites” including the intellectuals have been cut off from the BN machinery.

“We will help arrange for a dialogue and townhall session and we can start it by next week. We are looking at areas like Bangsar, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Damansara, Damansara Heights and so on.

“It will be a challenge, especially if we are faced with [questions] from the intellectuals but we need to face it. Some may be more educated than we are, but we must answer their questions,” he said.

Kayveas, who is also eyeing the Cameron Highlands parliamentary seat currently held by MIC, said he has been working there for two years to ensure a BN victory.

“I’ve already received the blessing from BN chairman to work for BN’s victory there. I think it’s best to let a local boy contest there instead of parachuting a candidate from another state or area.

“A local knows the area better and can increase voter support easily by 20 per cent” said the Kuala Lipis-born politician.

– Malay mail