By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
HULU BERNAM, April 24 — With just a day to go before the people of Hulu Selangor take their votes to the ballot box, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is going all out to remind voters not to support Barisan Nasional (BN).
The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) de facto leader today reiterated to Felda settlers at a PKR centre here that a vote for PR meant a vote for change and opportunity, as opposed to BN’s empty rhetoric.
“The future of Selangor is in our hands. You decide what’s best. When the late Tun Razak started Felda, the intent was to take in poor Malays and the promise was so that settlers can reap benefits, and move out of poverty.”
“Thirty-forty years later, the plot is lost, the original goal has been forgotten by BN,” Anwar told a 100-odd crowd of mostly PR supporters.
He also dispelled fears that a PR federal government would have an unfavourable anti-Malay agenda, with PR member DAP being painted as racist, something which Umno has been steadily telling voters.
“All this talk about PR being bad, DAP dangerous... nonsense. Look at Penang. One year since Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng took office, there’s been an increase from RM12 million to RM24 million in Islamic education funds. These are facts, mind you, I’m not making it up,” stated Anwar.
In what appears to be an attempt to turn the tables on PKR candidate Datuk Zaid Ibrahim’s admittance to past drinking, Anwar recapped events in Parliament last Thursday.“You know Lim Kit Siang? He stood up in the Dewan and asked the prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak), deputy prime minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin), home minister (Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein), Rembau (MP Khairy Jamaluddin) to stand up and say that they have never consumed alcohol in their lives.
“The home minister, I couldn’t see his face after that, as Kit Siang spoke, his head was slowly going under the table (he was hiding I think),” said Anwar, to an applause from the people present.
He stressed that come tomorrow, people should cast their votes wisely, and vote for Zaid.
“Even if you have a BN flag outside your houses, I understand. Just don’t vote for them, vote for Zaid, vote for Pakatan.
“Let Zaid be a middle person to relay your concerns to the Selangor mentri besar,” added Anwar.
The PR leader’s stopover in Ulu Bernam this morning was seen as part of an aggressive, last-minute campaign before the by-election enters the final stretch tomorrow morning.
Shortly after he spoke, Anwar had a quick nasi lemak breakfast with those present at the PKR centre.
Earlier, he visited a market in Tanjung Malim, Perak, where most people from Ulu Bernam go to buy their poultry and vegetables.
Flanked by party strategist, Chua Tian Chang, the walkabout drew significant attention, with many curious onlookers wanting to shake the former DPM’s hand.
People were generally optimistic during Anwar’s walkabout, as he went from one stall to the other, chatting up with everyone he met.
“I think he is a good man. Pity him, did you see what happened in Parliament that day? He was bullied by Umno,” said a vegetable seller who only wanted to be known as Chan.
Tomorrow’s by-election is the 10th in the country since Election 2008.
PKR’s Zaid is facing MIC’s P. Kamalanathan, a relative newcomer to politics.
Personal attacks between BN and PR have also intensified over the past week. Zaid has been accused of having low morals due to his drinking past, while Kamalanathan has been labelled an Umno lackey and also had his academic credentials challenged.