Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Today, January 6, 2008 is nomination day for the Kuala Trengganu parliamentary by-election. Unlike the last Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election, the scene in Kuala Trengganu is unusually quite, and the voices of leaders of both contending political parties are somewhat subdued. Have they lost steam and energy, or are they confident that their candidates will win their contest, without the usual excitement and ‘party like’ atmosphere of their supporters, that was displayed in previous by-elections?

In my article posted on December 13, 2008 titled ‘Santa Claus comes to Trengganu’, I did comment that many ‘gifts’ and ‘presents’ with courtesy of the BN government will be flowing into Trengganu. Now it is past Christmas, the ‘gifts’ and ‘presents’ are still flowing endlessly, under the pretext of social and economic development that is meant to benefit the people. Even, royalties from petroleum, the spending of which in the past was very much determined by the federal government, is now channeled to the state coffer. The state, and in particular the Menteri Besar will now have some additional cash to spend, and hopefully not to be used to renovate his official residence, or to print banners with his picture portrayed prominently amongst catchy slogans, displayed along highways and the town center. The Trengganu Menteri Besar only need to travel to Seremban, Negeri Sembilan to understand what I mean.

Malaysian leaders are an unusual lot. They all love publicity; hence we see endless pictures of our leaders being displayed throughout the country, and in the villages as well. Just take a stroll along the streets in Kuala Lumpur, and one will not fail to see pictures of ministers portrayed everywhere. Of course, the picture of the PM and his deputy has to be portrayed too besides the minister. I suppose one does not see pictures of Bush or Blair being prominently displayed on banners along highways and the city centre in the US and the UK.

Having read the Star today, I am glad that Najib has reminded UMNO and Barisan National leaders campaigning in the by-election to be humble. “Don’t be boastful….(do not) move around in luxury cars and don’t be excessive (when meeting voters). Stick to the principle that we are servants of the people, that’s the key to BN success. That is why I ask leaders who are going down to the ground to be people-friendly”. These were exactly the things that I had commented of UMNO/BN in my earlier writings.

UMNO/BN has finally learnt their lessons from their failures in the past. And if only they had been reminded of the same in the past, the election results may have been different.

Let us now all await the outcome of the Kuala Trengganu by-election scheduled January 17, 2008, and to know whether Najib's reminder has it's effect.

Posted at 12.00pm on Jan 6, 2008

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