Barisan won 36% of votes in urban seats in 2013: In 2018, is it still king in rural areas?

In 2013, the results showed that the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) was king in the rural areas and in 2018, the situation has not changed dramatically according to some reports.

But the opposition is telling a different story with former PM Mahathir Mohamad breaking into what were once exclusively Umno-BN territories.

The opposition is also counting on the penetration of the internet deep in rural Malaysia and the drop in local Television viewership to capitalise on the anti-Najib Razak campaign.

Among the Malay based parties, the Justice Party or PKR did well in Malay-majority seats in semi-urban and urban categories because of the support of other ethnic groups.

Which is clear indication that the Malay vote was a tough one for the opposition, though the Islamists PAS did win support in Malay majority areas.

In 2013, the Barisan firmly held the rural seats because, in terms of the popular vote, the coalition obtained 57% in rural seats, 47% in semi-urban seats and 36% in urban seats, Wong Chun Wai, the group managing director/chief executive officer of The Star Media Group wrote recently.

He quoted the research group Politweet.

He said of the 108 rural seats won by Barisan involving more than 4.5 million voters, 66 were Malay-majority seats, 15 bumiputra Sabah-majority seats, 18 bumiputra Sarawak-majority seats and nine mixed, according to research group Politweet.

In a report on social media buffs living in the state of Johor in particular, Politweet showed that the Umno has a strong base of supporters on Facebook.

The party and its leaders draw most of their page likes and comments from Facebook mostly, which will make it difficult for the Mahathir and other opposition groups to make a breakthrough in the state, though the opposition seems to have a better chance this time around with Mahathir in their camp.

Having said that, the states of Johor, Perak and Kedah look set to be swing states according to research groups or opposition and government estimates.

Nevertheless, the toughest battle for both the BN and the opposition Pakatan Haparan or PH will be fought in the rural areas, WFTV was told.

Political experts are saying that the BN will have to fight hard to keep its rural fixed-deposit in peninsula Malaysia though it does not seem to have the same issues in Sabah and Sarawak.

The PH under Mahathir has simply given way to the Democratic Action Party (DAP) in the Borneo states, while it is gunning for more votes in Johor, Perak, Kedah – the states where the BN seems to be more vulnerable at this point in time.

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