PONTIAN – Thousands turned up at a ceramah featuring top leaders of Barisan Nasional and PAS in a show of support for MCA’s Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng in the upcoming Tanjung Piai by-election on Nov 16.

The ceramah, held at Kampung Rimba Terjun on Thursday (Nov 7) night, were filled with locals, blue-clad Barisan supporters and green-clad PAS supporters.

The large crowd caused traffic congestion along Jalan Pontian, as many locals and party supporters came as early as 8pm and parked their cars on the roadside.

Crowds of people even spilled out of the ceramah hall, with some sitting on mats and others standing and listening attentively to the speakers.

There were several stalls selling refreshments and party souvenirs.

The ceramah had featured talks by Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, Jeck Seng, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, MIC Deputy president Datuk Seri M. Saravanan, Johor Umno Liaison committee chief Datuk Hasni Mohammad and Tanjung Piai Umno division chief Datuk Jefridin Atan.

It was a boisterous event as the crowd, which peaked to about 3,000 at around 9.30pm, were seen in high spirits and chanting “Hidup Barisan” during speeches.

People also reacted to the speeches given by the speakers, particularly when they took turns to reply to each other in pantun, taking jabs at the Pakatan government.

The unprecedented show of support for Barisan in the ceramah was a stark contrast to a Pakatan Harapan “kopitiam forum” featuring DAP’s Lim Kit Siang, Gobind Singh Deo, Karmaine Sardini, among others, held some 10km away in Pekan Nanas, where it managed to pulled a crowd of just 70-odd people.

In his speech Jefridin, who’s also Barisan’s operations director for the by-election, regarded the large turnout as a sign of success.

“Today we have created history by creating a ‘jam’ on this road. With the spirit shown today, for sure Pakatan is terrified and scared.

“As the operations director, I’m excited by the support shown by our members in Barisan. This is the best time to return power to Barisan, ” he said.

Zahid pledges to make Ahmad Maslan minister after GE15

PONTIAN: Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan will be appointed a full minister if he manages to win with a good majority in the 15th General Election, says Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“He was a deputy minister (International Trade and Industry), and he has worked for a long time but never got a promotion.

“I promise in front of everyone here that if you win with wonderful results, after the 15th general election, god-willing, a full minister for you, Tok Mat, ” he said, in reference to Ahmad Maslan during a Barisan ceramah on Jalan Pontian on Wednesday (Nov 6).

However, this appointment would have to get the agreement of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, Zahid added, drawing laughter.

He also said that the Nov 16 polls was an important date for locals to show support for Barisan candidate Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng.

“This would be an important manifestation of how well we know Wee, ” he said.

Ahmad Zahid said Wee was at one time the political secretary to former MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, and was also a former Pekan Nanas assemblyman, a former two-term MP for Tanjung Piai and a former deputy youth and sports minister.

“He (Wee) just wasn’t lucky in the 14th General Election, ” he added.

The Tanjung Piai polls on Nov 16 will be a six-corner fight between Pakatan’s Karmaine Sardini, Barisan’s Wee, Gerakan’s Wendy Subramaniam, Pan Malaysian Islamic Front (Berjasa)’s Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz, and two independent candidates – Faridah Aryani Abdul Ghaffar and Ang Chuan Lock.