AT his first ceramah at night since recovering from a chest infection, Dr Mahathir Mohamad kept his message to Malaccans short and simple: Vote for anyone except Barisan Nasional and PAS.
“They think they can win by not allowing us to contest as one party but we can beat them if we stick to this,” said the 92-year-old Pakatan Harapan prime minister designate in Taman Sg Petai, Alor Gajah, yesterday night.
PH last week filed suit against the Registrar of Societies after failing to to get the coalition registered after a wait of seven months.
He alleged that BN was trying to confuse voters by making the opposition contest as four parties instead of one.
Perhaps sensing that his audience had already heard most of his argument for a change of government, Dr Mahathir said: “This huge gathering means you are aware of the problems plaguing our country”.
Another reason Dr Mahathir kept his speech to just 20 minutes could be because he seemed to be still recovering from his illness as he was twice interrupted by a bout of coughing.
“Malacca has been ruled by BN since Independence. The same goes for our country. But 60 years is too long for one party to rule the country as anything that long will turn bad,” the former prime minister told in some 3,000 people at the event.
“If we were once known as a model for developing nations, or Asian tiger, now the world thinks we are a corrupt country.
“This is an extraordinary situation where the country is led by a thief,” said the PH chairman.
Confident of victory
The former prime minister said the Malays were behind Pakatan this time around.
“BN thought they could divide and conquer by separating the Malays from the Chinese in the redelineation exercise, by creating more Malay-majority seats. But I’m confident this will not work.
“Malays are not who Najib Razak think they are. He tried to bribe the voters in Langkawi by holding lucky draws and giving away five motorcycles but not many people came out. Malays know that he is trying to buy their votes.
“I’m confident that the Malays will reject such corrupt attempts. I appeal to you to reject Najib’s attempts to bribe you even if you are poor. You can take the bribe but don’t vote for BN,” said Dr Mahathir.
Dr Mahathir in the flesh
KH Chew, 42, who was in Kg Tampoi where a “teh tarik” session with Dr Mahathir was in progress, said he wanted to show his support for the nonagenarian.
“He’s still fighting at 92. What reason do I have to stay at home?” said Chew, who spent the afternoon watching from outside the house where the session was held.
Another Malaccan, Aziz Ahmad was in Kg Tampoi in the afternoon and at the ceramah afterwards.
“I have been to many of the ceramah and I’ve heard everything already, but I still came to show my support,” said Aziz, who said he did not belong to a party.
At a nearby Indian restaurant located within earshot of the ceramah speakers, 78-year-old Lim Ah Moi told her husband in Malay: “He said a vote for PAS is a vote for BN.”
“Remember this! Vote for anything but ‘dacing’ or ‘bulan’,” she shouted over the noise.
Though short, Dr Mahathir’s message appears to have done the trick.