Shake Hand in Glove – Cikgu Mala Get Slammed

1048 president Chua Soi Lek again resorted to religious bigotry calling on the Chinese community not to vote for PAS candidate Normala Sudirman in the Tenang by-election because the former teacher would not visit places like Chinese temples, and like PKR president Wan Azizah, she would only shake hands if she wore gloves. “Normala will not come here to a Chinese temple, she doesn’t even shake hands with the people. I have received complaints about this. She is like Anwar Ibrahim’s wife. She wears gloves when she shakes hands.

If you can accept this kind of Islamic value, go ahead and vote for PAS,” Malaysiakini reported him as telling the committee members of the San Ti Shu Thai Buddhist temple in Labis.

He did not mention if Umno candidate Azahar Ibrahim was willing to visit the Chinese temples in the constituency, but pledged to campaign on Azahar’s behalf.

Will Tenang open the floodgates

Chua is fighting tooth and nail for the BN after Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin set a high winning-majority target of at least 5,000 votes. He is feeling the heat because Labis is his stronghold and parliamentary seat before he was forced to resign due to his sex scandal.

Tenang is a mixed seat, where Chinese form 39 percent of a 14,753-strong voter base. In the 2008 general election, BN won the seat with a 2,500-vote margin, after having taken it with a 5,500-odd margin in 2004.

All eyes are on whether this margin of victory will be further trimmed on January 30, when the constituents go to the ballot boxes. Even Prime Minister Najib Razak is concerned and dropped in for a full-day visit on Tuesday. The PM brought along election goodies and pledges of at RM1.6 billion to woo the Tenang voters.“Tenang is especially significant to BN because if this state goes to Pakatan Rakyat, it means Johor is no longer safe. The Pakatan has made inroads and these will continue into the next GE,” PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

Nonetheless, despite the hard work he and his colleagues have put in, Tian has given his own coalition only 40 percent chance of pulling off an upset. Like DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, he has cautioned Pakatan supporters not to underestimate the BN’s abuse of the federal government machinery and its ability to tap into the national coffers.

Brushes aside Umno’s religious fanaticism

Meanwhile, Soi Lek has set himself the target of visiting all of Tenang’s 27 temples within three days. He will visit eight Chinese temples and religious associations on Thursday.

He also urged the Chinese in Tenang to accept Azahar, a former assistant district officer, saying that Azahar would be able to help the constituents because of his past administrative experience.

“In the spirit of BN, we always accept whoever is decided. This is to ensure all component parties will work as a team. We respect the Umno choice in the same way when we decide on an MCA candidate, Umno and the rest of the component parties will also accept. That’s how we keep BN alive and working as a team and we don’t quarrel openly over candidate over the last 53 years. We are not like Pakatan which continously fights among themsleves in the state they rule.” said Soi Lek.

While it was to be expected Soi Lek would take a dig at his political rivals, he conveniently omitted to mention the frequent occasions that he himself had been publicly blasted by Umno leaders for allegedly questioning Malay rights. days ago, he had to rush to distance himself from a row that erupted in Selangor over the loudness of the azan or call to prayer. The incident ended with the MCA embarrassed and the MCA member who complained of the azan’s loudness forced to apologize to all Muslims at a press conference organized by Umno.

Indeed, while Soi Lek attacked PAS for its religious fundamentalism, he did not once mention that the azan protest had been stirred up by Umno-linked groups Pekida and Perkasa.

Soi Lek did however admit Umno was “not perfect” and PAS was only less corrupt than Umno because it was not yet the federal government.

“Umno is not perfect. It has corruption. But PAS is also not perfect. You need to look at (PAS-ruled) Kelantan. If you have friends in Kelantan, ask them about it. It’s just that PAS is not the federal government thus they don’t have large-scale corruption,” said Soi Lek.