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Friday, January 28, 2011

‘Phantom’ letters, medical leave add excitement

All signs are that the BN may reach the finishing line with its rivals trailing far behind.

LABIS: The marathon campaigners have only two more laps to go and already the Pakatan Rakyat relay team is losing steam and falling behind the Barisan Nasional.

The BN may yet pull away and breast the tape.

Yesterday, the weather was kind. The rain stopped and the political rivals took time off to clean up the premises hit by flash floods. They also gave out aid – and fished for more votes.

With time ticking away fast, the leaders of the warring parties zig-zagged around the Tenang constituency conducting ceramahs to small crowds.

There was some air of excitement when PAS candidate Normala Sudirman again became a target of attacks but this time the shots were fired at her husband Maa’rof Abd Mutalib. The brouhaha was over his medical leave issued by two government clinics.

Copies of the medical leave were distributed around the constituency to tell the voters that Maa’rof should stay at home and not accompany Normala on the stump.

There was also another message: Maa’rof is a civil servant and therefore he has broken the laws by actively taking part in politics.

To make it look more serious, there were insinuations that the medical leave was obtained under questionable circumstances.

Photographs of Normala and Maa’rof were also circulated at every ceramah and during house-to-house campaigning.

Normala first drew flak when she wore gloves to shake hands with the voters and was immediately branded a “snob”.

False compensation

Then “phantom” letters also surfaced informing flood victims to collect RM300 as compensation from the Labis Municipal Council.

The victims flocked to the council but were told the letter was false. The irate residents then lodged a report with the Labis police station.

The MCA and MIC seem to carry very little clout with the Chinese and Indian voters respectively. The former appears to have lost its grip on the Chinese voters in Labis, while the latter sees its influence fast disappearing in the plantations.

Indeed, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has managed to garner more Indian support for BN than MIC. The last count was that PPP has locked some 600-odd votes from the total Indian electorate of about 1,500.

With PAS losing its influence and PKR fading away from the scene, it is left to the DAP to stand up to the BN challenge. Every night, it holds ceramahs in Chinese-majority areas in an all-out bid to zip up the Chinese votes.

DAP big guns Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng, Gobind Singh Deo and several others tirelessly continue their onslaught, leaving MCA no chance of returning fire.

It is clear that MCA leader Dr Chua Soi Lek and son Chua Tee Yong, who is also Labis MP, have not managed to convince the largely sceptical Chinese community to come BN’s way.

The MIC, to all intents and purposes, is a lost cause: it can pack up and leave the stage to the PPP.

Umno is the only regiment fighting hard to defend its bastion. It may not win big but a victory, no matter how small, is still a victory. - FMT

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