OPPOSITION leaders have warned voters that Umno might come a-knocking with offers of money for votes in the general election to come.
Pakatan Harapan chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad claimed the government would use the money it had to bribe the people into voting for Barisan Nasional.
“The money they have is being used to bribe people. I hear that a village in Alor Setar with 5,000 residents has been getting Umno visitors.
“The people from Umno knock on their doors, claiming to be conducting a population census. When the villagers open the door, each got RM100.
“RM100 each for 5,000 people means RM500,000. That’s the way they try to buy support, using money from tax collected by the government,” he said at last night’s Jelajah Semarak mega ceramah in Bertam, Kepala Batas in Penang.
“They will give money and make threats to get support. If we allow ourselves to be influenced by stolen money, we will suffer even more.”
The former prime minister said the federal government lacked funds and was using the Internal Revenue Board to squeeze the people, even those who had paid their taxes.
“If you don’t pay up, you will be blacklisted and your books seized, preventing you from doing business. If you want to take the IRB to court, your case will take years.
“That is why many are afraid IRB will knock on their doors. The reason for this is the government lacking funds,” Dr Mahathir said.
He said the government was looking for different ways to collect money from the people, like charging a RM1 levy from air travellers who fly out of Malaysian airports, and the goods and services tax (GST) that had caused cost of living to rise.
“Money in our pockets he wants to ‘sapu’ (take) too,” he said, adding that hospitals also were not dispensing medicines like they used to to patients due to budget cuts.
Mahathir also spoke briefly on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal, the purchase of the RM120 million pink diamond allegedly bought using 1MDB funds, and the RM2.6 billion Najib received in his personal account.
He again poked fun at Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali, who had defended Najib and cleared him of wrongdoing in relation to 1MDB because the prime minister had denied doing anything wrong.
“I told (Pakatan de facto leader) Anwar (Ibrahim) that he has a good chance to go free. He just needs to tell Apandi he didn’t do anything wrong to be freed. That is the new law under Najib,” he said, tickling the crowd of thousands.
BLEAK FUTURE FOR THE MALAYS IF BN IS VOTED
Meanwhile, his son Mukhriz Mahathir, who is Bersatu deputy president, reminded the people that they votes were confidential, urging civil servants not to worry about voting for the opposition.
He said civil servants were afraid of being transferred if they voted for the opposition while those with government contracts feared they would lose their contracts.
“Nobody can tell which side you voted for. It is all right even if you work for the civil service. The ballot paper doesn’t carry the voter’s name.
“When you vote, think of your children and grandchildren’s future. Their future will be a dark one if BN remains in power. The choice is yours,” he said, adding that people who rejected corruption and bad policies that troubled the people should vote for Pakatan.
Mukhriz also said Umno was also desperate in making sure big crowds would attend their delegates’ conferences, offering big lucky draw prices.
“Previously, it was a big deal if you win some gadget in the draw. But now, the big prizes are cars and motorcycles, and even PPR (people’s housing project) homes.
“That is the situation in Umno, which has gone rotten,” the former Kedah menteri besar said.
Later, as the ceramah came to a close at midnight, a brief commotion happened as Dr Mahathir was leaving the venue when a man tried to hug him.
“He approached and wanted to embrace Tun (Mahathir). He looked rather aggressive so he was prevented from getting closer.
“The Armada Brigade unit in charged of security quickly took him aside. He was escorted away and then handed over to the police,” a member of the unit said.
The man appeared to put up a protest while he was surrounded by Armada Brigade members, who walked him out of the venue.
Some were heard asking for people to stay calm as it was a misunderstanding while some emotional Bersatu supporters shouted at the man who caused the commotion.
Security at the ceramah, especially around Dr Mahathir, was tight after his last public event at the Nothing to Hide 2.0 forum in Shah Alam was disrupted by youths who threw chairs, flares and other items about. Some of the items were hurled in Dr Mahathir’s direction.