PH big guns take fight to PAS stronghold

Bede Hong Thor Kah Hoong

Pakatan Harapan is hoping for a repeat of its March event in Nilai, Negri Sembilan, where Dr Mahathir Mohamad drew a crowd of 2,000. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, July 17, 2017.

PAKATAN Harapan (PH)’s  “big guns” are tonight in Shah Alam, traditionally a PAS stronghold, to try to get their message of kleptocracy across to the people.

However, despite PH parading its new line-up that includes a team-up between Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim, hardly anyone The Malaysian Insight spoke to knew of tonight’s “Love Malaysia, Eradicate Kleptocracy” event.

But they perked up when told that Dr Mahathir would be sharing the stage with Nurul Izzah Anwar, Rafizi Ramli, Tony Pua, Khalid Samad, Lim Kit Siang and Mohammed Sabu.

Khairul Azam, 35, said he found the Anwar-Mahathir alliance to be a strange experience.

“It’s pelik (peculiar) to see Dr Mahathir with the opposition now. He will have to work hard to win the trust of PH supporters,”  said the father of three daughters.

Khairul, who is currently unemployed, said he did not blame the government for the slowdown in the economy, saying global factors were involved.

As for the implications of the US Department of Justice (DoJ) civil suits in connection with state investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), he said, “We don’t know for sure who is guilty. Those who are in power, they can always make things up. Unless the US government name those responsible, there will always be some confusion.”

Mohammad Hamdan, 32, said he idolised Dr Mahathir when he was younger, but blamed the former prime minister for the much of the country’s troubles now.

“When I was in school, I used to follow all the news programmes. Now I don’t want to know him. I used to idolise him and I thought I wanted to meet him. Now I’m not interested in shaking his hand.”

Mohammad, a technician, said the perceived corruption in the country today stemmed from Dr Mahathir’s administration.

“Dr Mahathir allowed it to grow. Umno may have done some good, but that doesn’t excuse all the things that have happened now. The things that are wrong in this country were allowed to fester during Dr Mahathir’s time.”

Mohammad also does not have confidence in Dr Mahathir’s promises or leadership in the opposition coalition.

“He is too old. This pertunangan politik (political alliance) is not going to hold, I think.” 

Mohammad said he was aware of the 1MDB scandal, but was still uncertain about the truth of the allegations, both by the opposition and foreign governments.

“If there is enough evidence, why hasn’t any government acted yet? I know there are billions that have gone missing, but for us ordinary people, all we can do is to earn a living. The bigger things and issues involving the government we have no control over.”

Azahari Cik Din, 60, an arts and crafts dealer, said voters were able to discern the truth.

“I’m a businessman, I deal with different people all the time, people with different views. People here are open, either with PAS or Umno. They’re willing to listen.”

“Mahathir has the right to voice his views if he feels he has something to say,” he said. 

Razman 42, a hypermarket supervisor, said he did not know Dr Mahathir would be speaking but said he would attend with his friends. 

When asked how he felt about Dr Mahathir’s alliance with Anwar, Razman replied: “That’s not so important. 

“The most important thing is to get rid of the ruling government. There are too many corruption scandals linked to it.

“That should be the primary mission. Everything else is of secondary importance.”

Razman said he could accept Mahathir as an opposition leader.

“Mahathir and Anwar becoming allies again… that’s just politics. One day you’re enemies, the next day you can be allies.”

Shah Alam is the second stop in the PH roadshow to explain the 1MDB scandal to Malay Muslims who
are key voters in the next general election.

Investigations are being carried out in six countries into how US$4.5 billion (RM19.3 billion) was allegedly siphoned from the state firm.

The US DoJ alleges some of the money flowed into the account of “Malaysian Official No1” and was used to buy jewellery for his wife.

Cabinet Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan has confirmed that MO1 is Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Tonight’s ceramah is also the first PH event after the coalition announced its much-awaited leadership line-up.

Although it is an urban parliamentary seat, Shah Alam’s Malay Muslim residents are well-known for being ultra-conservative. The city is home to a large Malay populace from Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah. – July 17, 2017.

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