As expected, PM Najib and his cabinet members descended upon Hulu Selangor as soon as the pervious MP was laid to rest.
Although campaigning should not start until the nomination day, both BN and Pakatan has started lobbying hard for votes. Their understanding of campaigning rules is limited to not putting up posters and banners until the nomination day. Everything else is not forbidden.
BN leaders, who has to attend parliament and also other commitments managed to make frequent ad-hoc visits to Hulu Selangor. MB Khalid on the other hand, relocated his whole Exco team to Hulu Selangor in order to campaign and work at the same time. He is using Kuala Kubu Bahru district office as his own, so does his team members.
BN, with Najib’s visit, has, as expected, playing Santa Claus, throwing in the goodies for the local voters, with the announcement of a housing project for Felda Settlers. Not to be outdone, Selangor State government announced land grants in various forms (lease, TOL) etc for the local folks.
Not surprisingly, the Santa Clause appointed to dish out the goodies are based on their race, more than anything else, except for those with high position like PM Najib or MB Khalid. Despite the regular claims and utterances of ‘multi racial, ‘inclusiveness’, ‘Malaysian First’, both Pakatan And BN’s campaign strategy is very much based on race and nothing else.
PKR Indian Mandore (title given by Uthayakumar’s Hindraf ) Xavier Jeyakumar, has been busy. He is the most popular Indian PKR leader in the country. Not a day goes by without news reports of him dishing out grants for Tamil Schools and Temples around Selangor. Even MIC owned Tamil Nesan, which in recent months has been trying to revive it’s flagging circulation, provides regular coverage on Xavier's activities. Xavier, two days ago, presented mock cheques, few millions in value, to various schools and temples in Hulu Selangor. This received wide coverage in the Tamil Newspapers.
Hindraf had for many months dismissed Xavier’s tokenism and asks Pakatan to provide land for Tamil School and Temples. Strangely, Pakatan, despite State Governments power over land matters have not been doing this. A friend pointed out that what the Indians want is not only land but permanent annual grants, not piece meal handouts that is being dished out by Xavier.
A case to point is Johor State Government providing the state Hindu Sangam a land for their office and RM 200,000 grant for next 7 years. With these, there is no need to beg the state government every year.
Samy Vellu & Palanivel, on the other hand has been going to similar places visited by his Pakatan Counterparts, often ridiculed and shouted at. There was also a local man almost beaten up by MIC members for questioning Samy openly during a gathering at Sg Choh last week. A temple there even refused Samy’s pledge for funds, saying that they have been taken care by PKR.
Indians here claims, at least from what I hear from an influential local PKR leader in Serendah, that local leaders are being enticed by both PKR and BN with money, promises of grants, contracts, lands etc. He says that PKR is of no short of funds for the campaign. When asked for the source of funds, he says both State Government and PKR has ‘enough’ funds to run a campaign in equal measure with BN, although we all know that they cannot match BN’s federal government promises on projects.
The consensus amongst Indians here, apart from some hard core party loyalist from both sides, take whatever that is being dished out, no matter who is giving them but vote for who you like. Sounds like a good idea.
Before the last general elections, Pakatan Rakyat cried foul over massive indirect vote buying by BN. I am astounded that MB Khalid openly says that he wants and is doing exactly the same. No one from other Pakatan component parties denounced such indirect vote buying practices. Such hypocrisy!! Another case of Malaysians muda lupa..
I am quite bewildered with the silence from the Election Commission. After the announcement of the nomination and by-election date, there has been a complete silence from them. Why aren’t they chastising both BN and Pakatan over early campaigning and indirect vote buying?
Whatever happened to Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (BERSIH) Why don’t they take to the streets condemning the vote buying by both sides. Why also a silence from all those ‘credible’ NGOs such as Aliran, Suaram and like minded BN critics and bloggers?
Why Lim Kit Siang did not post an article in his blog with a kilometer long title ‘ SPR SHOULD REQUEST THE KING TO FORM ROYAL COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY TO INVESTIGATE MASSIVE VOTE BUYING ACTIVITY IN HULU SELANGOR BY BOTH BARISAN NASIONAL AND PAKATAN RAKYAT’ Kit Siang or rather Anwar (who is an expert now in writing to the King) should write to the King on this or might as well admit that he is such a hypocrite, unlike MB Khalid whose honesty deserved either praise or condemnation, depending on which side your are aligned to.
Perhaps, Pakatan’s candidate, Zaid Ibrahim should explain if the vote buying before even the nomination day is a common policy adopted by Pakatan Rakyat!! As for the Hulu Selangor residents, it cannot be a better time to celebrate and enjoy the goodies and still vote for whom they like.