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MGG: Indera Kayangan: UMNO in the spotlight
By M.G.G. Pillai
18/1/2002 8:26 pm Fri
The candidates are Chinese, but MCA is no where to be seen, if
Malaysian press and media news on the hustings in Indera Kayangan
is any guide. The deputy prime minister, Dato' Seri Abdullah
Ahmad Badawi is certain the MCA candidate would be returned with
a majority, not a higher majority he was sure of until now.
With due respect, how could one win an election with a minority
in a straight fight as hard fought as this? (I know of only one
-- in Kuala Kubu Bahru state assembly seat in the 1969 general
elections, when MCA dumped its the sitting member: his
supporters spoilt their ballot papers, all 5,009 of them, which
was more than the winner's; but surely Dato' Seri Abdullah did
not have this in mind) The MCA president, Dato' Seri Ling Liong
Sik, has little to say but pour scorn on Parti Keadilan Nasional
(Keadilan) though not the candidate, Mr Khoo Yang Chong, a
popular Chinese community leader.
The campaign is vicious. Accusations are made with abandon.
Both the National Front (BN) and the Alternative Front (BA) are
guilty of it, and BN, especially its Perlis mentri besar, Dato'
Seri Shahidan Kassim, scurries for cover. His threat to sue an
opposition leader for RM1,000,000 for defaming him lead to a
further libel of him having "slept with artistes, actresses and
under-aged girls". He must now carry out his threat. But he
clearly runs for cover. His UMNO Perlis is against him and wants
to blacken him. The MCA campaign is an extension of its internal
problems, Indera Kayangan yet another turf battle. UMNO must
contend with its problems at the centre and state.
In this confusion comes one one remarkable statement, the
only one in this byelection, when Mr Khoo said if he is returned,
the Chinese community would get "two representatives for the
price of one" for he would be state assemblyman and Mrs Oui would
return to be Dato' Seri Shahidan's special assistant for the
community. The BN, shakens to its roots, redoubled its attacks
on the opposition, in panic than design. But its campaign was
defensive from the start. The MCA candidate, Mrs Oui Ah Lan, is
Dr Ling's choice; that she is on Dato' Seri Shahidan's staff
gave her two black marks, with the Malay and the Chinese. That
the byelection is fought on the leadership of Dr Ling and the
Prime Minister, Dato' Seri Mahathir Mohamed. And if Dato' Seri
Shahidan should continue to alienate Malays by continuing in
The campaign stops at midnight tonight (18 January 2002).
BN shows its metier with tokens like the MCA Youth forming a
120-man "action" team to counter Opposition propaganda. By the
time it meets for its first meeting, the election is history.
The Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress (Kimma), which exists to
claim what it cannot enforce, is certain of the Indian Muslims
vote for the MCA candidate. How many Indian Muslims are there in
the constituency? It does not know. But it is sure who they
would vote for. If you go by the BN claims, Mrs Oui is a sure
winner with a comfortable majority. Especially with
three-to-four campaigners for every voter. The opposition is on
a shoe string and so, BN believes, cannot win. The defections
and threats to sue must, it hopes, dampen its enthusiasm. Which
is why Dato' Seri Abdullah is sure his candidate would be
returned with more votes than his opponent. If the opposition is
returned, one assumes it would be because its candidated polled
less than the MCA candidates. Confused? Yes, as I am over BN
statements I read in Malaysia's free press!