BN Chairman and Umno President Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is sending out a message ahead of GE13. No state is too hard to win back if BN-Umno have the right people leading the fight.
And he has shown his pragmatic side to ensure BN-Umno has the right team by today announcing that Gerakan secretary-general Teng Chang Yeow will succeed Senator Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon as the new chairman of Penang BN.
Najib’s intervention is a reaction to the belief throughout BN that Penang Chief Minister and DAP Secretary General Lim Guan Eng is getting an easy ride in the state.
Expect the new Penang BN to take the fight to Guan Eng as we enter the GE13 campaign proper.
In acting so decisively Najib has overridden Penang Gerakan Chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan to whom he was today thankful, without being effusive.
“I wish to thank Penang Gerakan chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan for his understanding that this is the reality of politics, although he has contributed greatly to the party all this while,” said Najib.
At the Umno General Assembly last November Najib spoke of the need for winnable candidates and the right people pulling the levers of BN-Umno.
From the moment on the writing was on the wall and there have been rumours of a clear out of key personnel ever since. Now it is in full swing and Najib says Teng’s appointment should “fire up” the BN election machinery in Penang.
By beefing up the team in Penang, Najib is sending a message to the incumbent DAP who might have thought that all they have to do is turn up to win big at GE13.
And it is also a personal challenge to Lim Guan Eng in his roles as both Penang Chief Minister and DAP Secretary General.
Guan Eng has been given a free rein to say what he wants without getting the immediate rebuke he so richly deserves.
As a result he has been emboldened to criticise our school system based on the number of scholarships to Harvard University, he has made poor taste jokes about cutting school funding in Penang, and he simplistically prescribed his Penang government model as a panacea for the whole nation.
If there is something wrong with any of these statements (and there is plenty) then it is up to the Penang BN machine to make that point to Guan Eng and the voters in no uncertain terms.
Expect them to be doing just in the coming weeks.