BN supporters feeling the heat (Photo credit: Abang Benet)
I was on the mainland yesterday and ran into a few people. From my conversations with them, it sounded like quite a few people were determined to teach the BN a lesson in the by-election.
The Christians are utterly disgusted with the “show cause” letter to The Herald. They are definitely not impressed. Many of them are urging their friends and family members to vote for the opposition.
Najib and Khairy’s presence – and Saiful’s via video – in Permatang Pauh could prove to be counterproductive, to put it politely.
I ran into a DAP grassroots worker and he said that they are going all out to ensure the BN candidate loses his deposit – and he seemed confident it was within reach! (That remains to be seen.) Rural Penanti and Permatang Pasir are in the Pakatan bag, he claimed. The only concern he had was with the low-rise low- and medium-cost flats in the ethnically mixed urban area of Seberang Jaya, which he said the BN could easily pinpoint for targeted campaigning.
A Malay petrol pump attendant in neighbouring Butterworth told me that there was a great need for check and balance at the national level. Among the local issues he cited were:
- the imposition of tolls on the Butterworth-Seberang Jaya stretch of the Butterworth-Kulim Expressway (BKE). Until recently, this stretch had been toll-free for years. “50 sen toll put dia orang mau,” he grumbled.
- the proposed Second Penang Bridge, which the attendant said was a waste of funds. (He doesn’t have a car.) He said it would only be used by those heading to the island from the south. He has a point, especially when you consider that the cross-channel ferry service has been allowed to deteriorate to a pathetic level. Long waits are the order of the day, and if you try to take a ferry after 9.00pm, good luck to you. Why they don’t increase the number of ferries when the Penang Bridge is so congested continues to baffle me. Actually, no, it doesn’t puzzle me; they just want to prove to Penangites that we desperately need another bridge – and a RM5 billion bridge at that. Big money-la.
- the higher cost of living.
One veteran KL-based journalist warned about the digital divide among rural voters who rely heavily on the mainstream media for their news. These older voters especially, he said, could be influenced by Saiful’s oath-taking and challenge to Anwar to swear by the Qur’an.
But Anwar has been campaigning at a blistering pace: three ceramah a night at different locations, walkabouts, and his presence at prayers in local mosques.
Meanwhile, the MCA, Gerakan and MIC are in disarray and probably demoralised. Will Samy dare to show his face in town, for instance? Where is Koh Tsu Koon?
But the most telling problem for the BN is its utter inability to reinvent itself and introduce meaningful reforms after its major setback in the March general election. They are still out of touch with reality or rather the people’s reality on the ground. And they find it so difficult to get off their high horse and get in touch with the people’s changed mood and desire for justice and people-centred development. That inability could cost them dearly when the result is announced on Tuesday night.
Blog visitor Karma left this comment:
Yes, i agree with you. i was there yesterday. BN is completely gone. The component parties are completely disheartened to campaign. They are not welcomed by the people. Najib and Khairy are not wanted either. Many UMNO members are fed up with Ariff, the candidate who claims to be pursuing his PhD, which he finally retracted yesterday. Umno and BN members are openly supporting Anwar. This surprised me. Personal attacks on Anwar have backfired terribly. The media onslaughts on Anwar have equally backfired. The people are fed up with all this. Umno has not learned much from the 8 March election. It’s the economic problems that they want to be resolved, not personal issues. They are not interested in personal issues. The people seems to be united to give anwar a big win. Ariff is utterly a wrong choice for Umno, poor guy. Khairy and Ezam are totally rejected by the people here. They just hate to see and hear them talking. Najib could not run away from all those shouts and boos against him. Umno has nothing left now in Permatang Pauh. Everything they do seems to go wrong….. IT IS GOING TO BE A LANDSLIDE VICTORY FOR ANWAR.