As the by-election date for the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat draws near, the battle of the media has began. As at the moment, the mainstream media clearly has an edge over the opposition’s media in news reporting on the up-coming by-election, for obvious reasons.
Just over the last two days of reading, the NST has reported numerous statements uttered by BN leaders reflecting confidence that this time around, its candidate, Datuk Arif Shah will come out the outright winner.
Here, I wish to list some of the statements made by BN leaders concerning its candidate, as reported in the NST.
1. Hishamuddin Hussein said, ‘Barisan candidate accepted by people’.
2. Ali Rustam said, ‘BN has good chance of winning seat’.
3. Penang State Gerakan Secretary, Datuk Dr. Teng Hock Han said, ‘Arif Shah was accepted not only by the Malays, but also the Chinese, Indians and Thai’s’.
4. Penang MCA Deputy Chairman, Lau Cheik Tuan said, ‘Party was confident that Arif Shah would triumph over Anwar’.
5. Syed Hamid Albar said, ‘Arif Shah will deliver the goods’.
6. Samy Vellu said, ‘The BN candidate has our full support’.
Whereas, on the side of the opposition, Anwar Ibrahim is reported to have said that, ‘ We (PR), are not just facing UMNO, but the whole BN machinery’, and this obviously is Anwar’s biggest challenge.
Penang Chief Minister, Mr. Lim Eng Guan is also reported to have said that, ‘ Anwar Ibrahim will not only represent the constituency if chosen as an MP, but also has a shot in leading the country by becoming the next PM’.
Clearly, there is a striking difference between the statements made by BN leaders, and the two opposition leaders. While the former is overly confident in winning the by-election; the latter seems to lacks confidence, and is extremely cautious in making any judgment.
It will also be interesting to hear what both the candidates have to say during their campaign, and let us hope that character assassination of leaders will not take center stage. But I am not surprise if the proposal made by Menteri Besar Selangor, Tan Sri Khalid to admit non-bumiputra into UiTM, will be BN’s main issue during the campaign period.
It is now left to the voters of Permatang Pauh to decide who should represent them in Parliament. Will it be Arif Shah or Anwar Ibrahim? The choice is in the hands of the voters.