Some 15000 people turned up for Najib’s visit to USM today – but who were these people? And why did they come? The photos below tell the story.

Many of them were bussed in from all over the state. Scores of blue factory worker buses and orange school buses were seen entering USM. The vast majority of the passengers alighted from the buses already wearing orange ‘Janji Ditepati’ T-shirts.

Quite a few people were seen wearing black Pekida T-shirts.

The person who received a letter from Telekom to collect a loyalty gift turned up in the afternoon to collect an Aztec DTEC cordless phone and a TM mug(!). Plus half a dozen RM3 tickets for the month-long Pesta Pulau Pinang held nearby.

Children could participate in games and activities and win prizes. No fees charged.

SPR officials were on hand to register people as voters. Would the Election Commission folks turn up at opposition-organised functions to similarly register people?

Those attending could collect a goodie bag. Ever wondered what is inside a goodie bag? Look at the slideshow above to find out.

Apart from litter all over, pages of the Malay Mail were found strewn on the grass near the venue. Yesterday, the Malay Mail was supposed to have distributed one million free copies nationwide.

A whole range of cabinet ministries had set up their booths all around the big central tent showcasing their services.

This was a thinly disguised abuse of government machinery and property for election campaigning. Indeed Teng stood on USM grounds to campaign for the BN using the issue of affordable housing. (I left before Najib could speak as it was hot and I was sweaty and thirsty and cheesed off by the blatant abuse of government machinery.) The BN had correctly identified affordable housing as a key issue for Penang. That’s fine. But to use the university grounds – government property – to campaign for the BN … That is blurring the line between government business and political party interests when there should be a clear demarcation.

Unless you want to expose students to views from both sides of the political divide for their all-round education. But will opposition politicians – indeed even Penang state government leaders – ever be invited to USM?

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