Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, delivering his keynote address at the opening the Pulai Umno divisional delegates meeting at Kompleks Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat, Johor Baru here tonight. Pix by Hairul Anuar Rahim

JOHOR BARU: Chinese voters have accepted Barisan Nasional (BN) and they are more receptive to BN after their bad experience in supporting the opposition in the last general election.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also Barisan Nasional deputy chairman, said this switch in support will benefit the ruling coalition.

He said it was pertinent for BN and Umno leaders to win the hearts and minds of both Malay and non-Malay voters.

"We cannot only focus on Malay voters because Chinese voters want to support BN now as they are fed up with the opposition after voting for them in the 13th General Election.

"The Chinese voters feel that they have been lied to back then, and they are more receptive to the BN now," said Zahid, when opening the Pulai Umno divisional delegates meeting at Kompleks Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat here tonight.

Zahid, who is also Umno vice president urged its leaders to emulate Pulai Umno division chief Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, who is known to get close to non-Malay voters in his parliamentary constituency.

"I know that Nur Jazlan often visit the Chinese areas and some have said that maybe he spends less time at Malay areas but he is merely doing his job as an MP.

"He knows that 47 per cent of the voters in his parliamentary constituency are Malays and 40.9 per cent of them are Chinese. All Umno leaders and members have to understand that we need the votes of Malays and non-Malays as well," said Zahid.

He also urged Umno members and leaders to defend the party against instigators who may be their former leaders.

"Some of these former leaders used Umno as a mere stopover. Their time has passed but this 'house' of Umno remains our responsibility.

"We cannot let these leaders or ex-leaders to throw stones and shatter the glass of this house of Umno, which have stood strong for 71 years," he said.

He said it was not an easy task to strengthen a 71-year-old party but it continues to be relevant due to the work of second echelon of leaders and younger leaders who are modernising the party with their new approaches.

Zahid also paid tribute to Nur Jazlan's father, the late Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat, who was the former Umno and BN secretary-general.

"Tok Mat's (Mohamed) contributions to Umno and BN were too many, and I till this day, I continue to follow by his request for me to look out for his son (Nur Jazlan)," said Zahid.

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