PAKATAN Harapan leaders today dismissed Prime Minister Najib Razak’s call to Permatang Pauh folk to vote Barisan Nasional at the next elections, saying it does not stand a chance in that parliamentary seat.
They pointed out that even when Umno did control the seat previously, it was because of the man they fielded then – Anwar Ibrahim.
DAP’s Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim said Umno then depended on the personality, Anwar, to retain Permatang Pauh.
Sim was commenting on Najib’s call yesterday to Permatang Pauh voters to make U-turns and return their support to BN at the 14th general election.
Najib told voters yesterday that “time had stood still” in Permatang Pauh after the seat fell to the opposition.
He also told the people not to expect reforms from the opposition now that they had “embraced” former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad as PH chairman.
PKR’s crown jewel
Anwar was Permatang Pauh MP from 1982 to 1999 when he was in Umno. He was sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998.
He returned as MP from 2008 to 2015, until he was jailed for sodomy for the second time.
Between 1999 and 2008, and 2015 until today, the seat was held by his wife, PH and PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Sim, who knows the sentiment on the ground as his parliamentary constituency neighbours Permatang Pauh, said Najib had given “an inaccurate report” yesterday.
“Even the Umno division chief here did not dare to go down to the ground wearing an Umno shirt during Hari Raya.
“They are aware that the reception towards Umno is poor on the ground,” Sim said during a visit to Sg Lembu in Penanti, Permatang Pauh, earlier today.
Illegal factory won’t dent support
Sim said BN should not think that the illegal carbon-filter processing factory in Sg Lembu would take support away from PH and the Penang government.
He said the good relationship between the state and its elected reps, and Sg Lembu residents and its village security and development committee (JKKK) remained intact.
“Sg Lembu folk and their local leaders still have a good relationship with PH and the administration. We won’t let the (state) opposition take advantage of the issue, which can be solved. The local leaders also agree.”
BN parties have been using the issue to attack the DAP-led Penang government, as its welfare, caring society and environment exco Phee Boon Poh faces an ongoing Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) probe into the factory.
Phee had written letters in his capacity as environment exco to ask for enforcement action against the factory to be postponed in 2015 and last year.
Residents in the predominantly Chinese Sg Lembu kampung complained that the factory has been polluting the area since 2008.
Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong, who is DAP’s political education director, said Najib should also remember that PKR managed to retain the seat for four general elections and two by-elections from 1999 to 2015.
He said in 2004, PKR’s only seat in the Dewan Rakyat was Permatang Pauh.
“Permatang Pauh is the centre for reform. Has the PM forgotten that?”
Umno faces unhappy citizens
Liew also reminded Umno that it has 50 parliamentary seats it won with marginal support in the last polls.
“They won those seats with under 10% vote majority, like Tasek Gelugor, Balik Pulau and Kepala Batas in Penang.
“As (DAP parliamentary opposition leader) Lim Kit Siang said earlier – PH only needs 10% more Malay votes and 5% more non-Malay votes to take the majority of seats in Peninsular Malaysia in the next polls.
“The PM should think carefully what he is doing.”
Lim, who was present, said there were more people – including millions of Umno members and civil servants – unhappy with Najib, more than any other prime minister.
He also hit out at Najib for failing to condemn the ruckus at the Nothing to Hide 2.0 forum in Shah Alam and the disrespect shown to Dr Mahathir last Sunday.
“The most shocking thing is that Najib had not come out to condemn the incident. He not only kept his silence for five long days, but could make a joke about flying chairs during his visit to Permatang Pauh yesterday.
“Najib’s visit to Permatang Pauh is 100% a political one. It reminds me of his Chinese New Year open house visit to Penang in February 2013 with his unforgettable public relations disaster when he introduced the South Korean pop star Psy of Oppa Gangnam Style fame.
“He asked the crowd three times then ‘Are you ready for BN?’ The crowd at the Han Chiang college field shouted ‘no’,” he said.
The incident was captured on video and became viral throughout Malaysia prior to the 13th general election.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT