BALAS budi. That is how Barisan Nasional (BN) has been aggressively wooing Chinese Malaysian voters in the final leg of campaigning for the Kuala Terengganu by-election.
Nearly every night, dinners are held together with karaoke sessions, lucky draws and cultural shows. In between the merry-making, BN leaders drop in to exhort the crowd to vote for their candidate if the community wants continued aid and development.
These video clips were taken on 13 Jan at an MCA-organised dinner and cultural show in Kampung Tiong, just behind Jalan Kampung Cina.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak reminded the Chinese Malaysians to “be good to those who are good to us”. He also admitted that BN is “learning from our mistakes” and that the ruling coalition is not extremist.
“It is not our policy, but sometimes one or two of us tersalah cakap,” Najib said in reference to racist statements by lower-ranking Umno leaders.
Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said also spoke of the state government’s good deeds towards the Chinese Malaysian community and the amount of funds allocated — RM10 billion annually — for their development.
In asking for votes, Ahmad, known for his straight talk, likened himself to a king cobra, quiet when unprovoked but ready to strike in retaliation.
Another video on the same night shows Selangor PAS’s exco Dr Hassan Ali speaking at a party ceramah in Kampung Panji, Wakaf Mempelam. He said corrupt morals and social ills in Selangor were “due to the Umno culture”, and called on listeners to reject the BN.
The 17 Jan Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election is a three-way fight involving the BN’s Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh from Umno, PAS candidate Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut and independent candidate Azharudin Mamat @ Adam.
Danny Lim is a freelance journalist and photographer.
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