COMMENT Pakatan Rakyat will have to push for internal reforms, move out of its comfort zone, and look beyond ethnicity and religion in order to win the rural vote.

The coalition has convinced urban dwellers that it can offer an alternative national government - by claiming 51 percent of the nation’s popular vote - and must now do the same for rural voters.

Pakatan must decide to invest in the party machinery in rural Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah, as well as address the impoverished living conditions of the rural populations.

Rural voters have limited access to information and education. Consequently, most have a virtually feudalistic understanding of the political process. They cannot be converted into enthusiasts of liberal democracy overnight, and history will take its course.