BERA: Candidates will come under close scrutiny during elections, which is why it is important for Barisan Nasional and Umno candidates to display solidarity and preserve the good name of the party, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The caretaker Prime Minister said the public would be watching them throughout the campaign period and any bickering could give rise to unnecessary speculation.

He said the focus should be on working for a victory for all Barisan candidates so that it could win enough seats to form the Federal Government.

“It doesn’t matter who it is in Umno and Barisan is contesting. Our focus must be on achieving victory. I hope we can set aside other matters because it is important to show solidarity.

“Whatever our actions are, we must protect the good name of the coalition and boost public confidence so that we will win to become the dominant coalition,” he said after attending a programme in Kampung Batu Papan here yesterday.

Ismail Sabri, who is also an Umno vice-president, was commenting on the recent exchanges between Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the coalition’s candidate for Sungai Buloh Khairy Jamaluddin.

At another event, Ismail Sabri said focus must continue to be given on developing entrepreneurship to boost rural economy.

He said while infrastructure development for rural areas had been successful, more efforts must be rolled out to help the community economically.

“We want to see village folk participate in different sectors of the economy and not just in the traditional economy such as farming, rubber tapping and as small-time fishermen.

“Rural entrepreneurs must be exposed to different opportunities so that their income will increase. We have the expertise and facilities that can help achieve this,” he said.

Ismail Sabri added that rural entrepreneurs’ potential must be tapped through the use of technology, which would allow them to market their products online to reach international markets.

He said development for rural areas remains the government’s priority, as reflected in Budget 2023 where an allocation of RM10.93bil had been set aside for the Rural Development Ministry. — Bernama