“Don’t poison the well that you drink from…We must be grateful. If people are good to us, we should return the gesture. This is part of Chinese culture, too.”
Datuk Seri Najib Razak, speaking to the Chinese Malaysian electorate of Kuala Terengganu in the Bandar state constituency on 13 Jan 2009. Chinese Malaysian voters were initially and widely believed to be the swing vote in the hotly contested 17 Jan Kuala Terengganu by-election.
A day earlier, at a dinner for Chinese Malaysians in Kampung Tiong, Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said appealed for the crowd’s “understanding” if state development funds were diverted elsewhere should the voters reject the Barisan Nasional (BN). Source: Reckoning with the electorate, The Nut Graph, 15 Jan 2009.
“I predict that we will achieve victory with a 2,ooo-vote majority, and if more, the state government wouldn’t mind adding to the development allocation of this area.”
Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said, elaborating on a RM5.8 million development project the state would carry out after the by-election. Source: Projek pembangunan menanti rakyat, Utusan Malaysia, 4 Jan 2009.
Interestingly, Section 9 of the Election Offences Act (EOA) defines a party exerting “undue influence” on the electorate as one that “inflicts or threatens to inflict … damage, harm, or loss” to compel a voter to vote or refrain from voting in a certain way. Bribery during an election, as defined in Section 10, includes promises of “any money or valuable consideration” to induce voters to cast their ballot in a certain way, before or after the fact.
But all is not lost for Kuala Terengganu voters, who elected PAS by a 2,631-vote majority instead of the BN to represent them in Parliament.
“We assure the people that the result does not mean we will abandon them. Development which has been promised will take place.”
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, conceding the BN’s defeat in the by-election on 18 Jan from Bahrain. Source: KT won’t be abandoned, The Star, 19 Jan 2009.