KUCHING: Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) acknowledges that it faces a heavy task in changing the perception of Sarawakians who wrongly associate it with being a peninsular-based party.

Its president, Mohamad Sabu, said that in the face of any election, the first task needed to be dealt with was the machinery, while the second was shaping the perception of the people.

“For example, during the 2018 general election (GE), in the Kota Raja parliament constituency, the (winning) majority of 71,000 was not because of a great candidate or machinery, but the perception of the people changed to reject our opponents.

“Perception needs to be changed so that they are in our favour,” the Defence Minister said in his address at the Sarawak Amanah Election Bureau Convention here yesterday.

Also present were Deputy Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Wira Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli and Sarawak Amanah chairman Mohamad Fidzuan Zaidi.

“As long as we do not change this mindset, the people of Sarawak will not vote Amanah.

“It is a big task for us to make them realise that we are actually a national party representing everyone at the national and state levels.

He said DAP was more successful in Sarawak as they were not considered a ‘peninsular party’.

Meanwhile, Amanah national elections director Datuk Wira Mohd Hatta Ramli said that Amanah Sarawak’s members are solely Sarawakians.

“Amanah Sarawak must be identified as another local party. Although we are a national party, but in Sarawak it has to follow the lingo and culture of Sarawak,” he said.

Wira, who is also the Deputy Entrepreneur Development Minister, said Amanah could no longer be seen as a ‘foreign’ party in Sarawak, thus the national party would assist and guide its leadership in Sarawak to ensure it could win in the coming state election.

“That is why for every ministry we have been instructed to ensure that Sarawakians benefit from any programmes.

“This is to ensure the policy does not set Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia apart. This is important as we don’t want Sarawakians to feel left out,” he said.