A Puteri Umno supporter in high spirits on Nomination Day (Photo credit: Abang Benet)
PERMATANG PAUH – While many people were trying to get to one of Anwar’s ceramahs last night, I stumbled upon a BN/Umno ceramah along the main road from the town centre.
It was in full flow with a crowd of 200 women and men – seated in separate sections – in the porch of a wooden double-storey building that houses the local Umno branch. Nearly all of them were Malay/Muslim.
I stood close to the main road, outside the house – I was not sure if I would be welcome – listening to a couple of the speakers: a Dato and an ustaz formerly from Pas.
Anyway, I needn’t have worried. A friendly man, noticing I was standing outside, brought me a chair and a bottle of mineral water. “Come in, have a seat,” he said, placing the chair at the back of the crowd.
Among the points that were raised by the speakers:
- Rifts in the Pakatan: Pas is unhappy with the PKR leadership, and this issue was even raised at the Pas general assembly. Pas is actually the dominant party in the Pakatan so why are Anwar and the PKR leading the alliance. How many Malays does PKR really have? And how does the DAP fit in when Karpal Singh once declared, “Islamic state over my dead body”? This alliance is not strong. And now Penang is under the DAP and although Perak is led by Pas, isn’t the real force in the state the DAP?
- The integrated pig farm project in “a Malay area” in Sepang: In theory, it is supposed to be safe and hygenic, but that is “in theory” only, said the speaker. Anyway, why was the DAP’s Teresa Kok announcing and making statements on the project when it should have been the MB?
- Wan Azizah could not do much for Permatang Pauh when she was the MP. People felt sorry for her and Anwar’s plight and that is why they voted for her. But she couldn’t do much beyond offering her salam in the market place whenever she visited.
- Anwar is so brave and daring he is willing to do all sorts of things such as (allegedly) making sub judice statements outside court etc. But why isn’t he brave enough to swear on the Koran as to his innocence?
- The UiTM issue.
- We are not anti non-Malays, said one of the speakers, but they must understand what the Malays sacrificed when they gave the non-Malays citizenship on the basis of jus soli.
- If we vote for Anwar, we must remember that he has to go to court on 10 Sept. What if he is eventually convicted? Are we going to have to go through another by-election? PKR has already put us in the position of having a by-election so soon after the general election. “I don’t know about you; I don’t want to go through another by-election,” said the speaker. And the solution? Put an end to this nonsense and vote for the BN candidate!
Half-way through the ceramah, the mike went dead – but it was soon revived. And then, this time from the main road, the speaker was interrupted again – by the roar of a convoy of about 100 motorbikes, some of them with BN flags fluttering in the night air.
“Ah, the young people, elections are like a festival to them and they go around honking on their motorbikes. Let them have their fun. In the old days, we used to go around in our bicycles; the only difference is that back then we didn’t have horns to blare!” said the ustaz, as the crowd chuckled.