Penang MIC Youth chief J. Dhinagaran said, in the past, it was difficult to see the Chinese community joining any of the programmes and activities organised by the BN government. (File pix)

BUTTERWORTH: The Chinese appeared to be returning to Barisan Nasional (BN) in Penang, judging from their response to a BN-organised fun run today.

Penang MIC Youth chief J. Dhinagaran said, in the past, it was difficult to see the Chinese community joining any of the programmes and activities organised by the BN government.

On Labour Day morning, more than 1,500 residents in Bagan, especially the Chinese community, joined the fun run which was organised by Dhinagaran and his campaign team.

Despite heavy rains, the event was well-received by both the young and old. They also attended a dialogue session on initiatives and policies by BN.

Also present was BN’s Bagan parliamentary candidate Datuk Michael Lee Beng Seng, who is also the Penang MCA Youth chief.

Dhinagaran said there had been increasing support from the community, especially since the floods last year, which had been described as "worst in years".

He said the people appreciated the help they received from BN during those difficult times.

“Their open support have bolstered our confidence, but nevertheless there is much hard work to be done.

“Whether BN win or lose, the people in Penang can rest assure that BN will always be there for them,” he told reporters.

He added that BN leaders and supporters never had any hostilities with Penangites despite the opposition ruling the state for two terms now.

In GE14, Dhinagaran will take on outspoken Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) councillor M. Satees from DAP, who is contesting under PKR’s logo, for the Bagan Dalam state seat.

It will be a five-cornered fight with Teoh Huck Ping (Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM), Teoh Uat Lye (Malaysian United Party (MU)) and Jasper Ooi Zong Han (Penang Front Party) being the other contenders.

The incumbent Bagan Dalam assemblyman, A. Thanasekaran, was dropped by DAP in GE14.

Meanwhile, Penang MCA has no problems with holding ceramah despite the circulation of photos of empty venues during BN events.

Lee said the photos were merely psychological tactics by the opposition.

He said there were many ways to reach out to voters other than holding a ceramah.

“In BN, we prefer to be up close and personal with voters. It is better to meet and talk to voters to appeal personally for their support,” said Lee, who had meeting people throughout Bagan.

He had been interacting with the people in public places and visiting them at their homes.

These are the familiar scenes in the DAP stronghold these days as Penang MCA goes for direct interaction with ordinary voters for a much larger audience variety.

Lee noted that in the Penang MCA campaign style, candidates sell themselves and their policies by talking to as many voters as possible.

The 37-year-old said it is about having direct contact - meeting and talking to voters to appeal personally for their support.

"It not only enhances candidates visibility and availability, but also the ability to connect with voters.

“We will hold ceramah as well, but it will not be our main focus. Ceramah is no longer the only tools in the increasingly sophisticated political ground game.

“We need to respond to the changing social, technological and media landscape of campaign politics,” he said, noting that voters who attended ceramah usually have pre-existing partisan preferences and already made up their mind on whom to vote for.

In GE14, Lee will take on DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng in a four-cornered fight for the Bagan parliamentary seat.

Also in the fray are Parti Cinta Malaysia deputy president Datuk Huan Cheng Guan and Malaysian United Party’s Koay Xing Boon.