BALAS budi. That is how Barisan Nasional (BN) has been aggressively wooing Chinese Malaysian voters in the final leg of campaigning for the Kuala Terengganu by-election.
Nearly every night, dinners are held together with karaoke sessions, lucky draws and cultural shows. In between the merry-making, BN leaders drop in to exhort the crowd to vote for their candidate if the community wants continued aid and development.
These video clips were taken on 13 Jan at an MCA-organised dinner and cultural show in Kampung Tiong, just behind Jalan Kampung Cina.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak reminded the Chinese Malaysians to “be good to those who are good to us”. He also admitted that BN is “learning from our mistakes” and that the ruling coalition is not extremist.
“It is not our policy, but sometimes one or two of us tersalah cakap,” Najib said in reference to racist statements by lower-ranking Umno leaders.
Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said also spoke of the state government’s good deeds towards the Chinese Malaysian community and the amount of funds allocated — RM10 billion annually — for their development.
In asking for votes, Ahmad, known for his straight talk, likened himself to a king cobra, quiet when unprovoked but ready to strike in retaliation.
Another video on the same night shows Selangor PAS’s exco Dr Hassan Ali speaking at a party ceramah in Kampung Panji, Wakaf Mempelam. He said corrupt morals and social ills in Selangor were “due to the Umno culture”, and called on listeners to reject the BN.
The 17 Jan Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election is a three-way fight involving the BN’s Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh from Umno, PAS candidate Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut and independent candidate Azharudin Mamat @ Adam.
Danny Lim is a freelance journalist and photographer.
Positive and negative campaigning
Reckoning with the electorate
Assessing Chinese Malaysian support
KT’s decorative touch
Wahid’s likeability factor
Getting the message across in KT
Politicising Islam in KT
KT’s odd man out
Contrasting campaign styles in KT
Andrew I says
Tersalah cakap. The problem is that once words are out, you can’t collect them back. That’s quite important in Chinese culture. Ask any Chinaman [or woman]. That’s why most of us choose to keep quiet.
Who should balas budi? The voter or the BN?
Without voters voting for BN, the BN would never be the government. Due to these votes for BN, the BN is the one who should balas budi to the voter, the RAKYAT. But through the years, BN never balas budi to the Rakyat.
Although Terengganu received bilions in oil royalty, it is still one of the poorest states of Malaysia. And now, the BN threatens the voter that if they do not vote BN, then there will be no development. Why should the voter vote for the BN who never balas budi???
In any electoral system, there is no such thing as balas budi as the country’s coffers belong to the rakyat and does not come from Najib or BN. BN should balas budi the rakyat and not the other way round.
If the ruling party has not been performing, why should there be balas budi? Performance in terms of:-
a) controlling party members and taking court action against those who utter nonsensical racial and religious extremist views.
This is no more salah cakap as those words were uttered over and over again.
b) double talk in not firmly hauling up those fanning racial sentiments as in the case of the Muslim and Malay Congress in Masjid Tanah in Dec 2008. At the same time, the innocent Jerit cyclists put in the lock-up.
c) Not listening to the rakyat in abolishing the ISA – throwing innocent citizens into Kamunting.
d) No religious tolerance – not granting sites for places of worship; body snatching.
e) Corruption – rampant in state and federal governments, local councils, semi-quasi government bodies, etc.
f ) Climbing crime rate and not taking any concrete actions despite the money poured into the system.
g ) Sexist BN MP’s uttering nonsense in Parliament.
The list goes on. How do you expect the rakyat to tolerate anymore?
Amount of funds allocated â€” RM10 billion annually â€” for their development. Oh my god, I’m from KT and I didn’t even know or see anything that has been given. Except the RM200 which is given yearly but not everyone gets it yearly. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t. And the thing is some uncle riding an old kapcai didn’t get it but a family riding a BMW all got it, so MCA is doing a poor job here.
Demolishing half of the people’s houses and not compensating for it and still hoping for people to balas your budi? Here’s the only thing I can say to BN: Ya, right!
Saying the wrong things is by choice. A choice that any man and woman can make. Labelling the Chinese as immigrants is a choice of words. Choices reflect intentions. And intentions lead to actions.