Teluk Intan defection fiasco a non-issue?


It is left to be seen after polling day tomorrow whether such campaign tactics could still work towards maintaining BN’s hold on the rural vote banks. 

Sonia Ramachandran and Alyaa Alhadjri, The Ant Daily

Come elections, one gets to witness the election machinery of political parties going into full gear, with some antics bordering on the ludicrous.

One such incident was the “oh so confusing” Teluk Intan fiasco which was supposed to commemorate 150 DAP members switching sides to BN but which did not quite turn out as it was supposed to.

The event on May 27, officiated by Umno information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan, turned into a travesty as reporters seeking proof of the claim discovered that apparently not all 150 were former DAP members, with one even telling the media she was still a DAP supporter and that she had no idea what she was getting into.

Some news reports have said that Umno is now laying the blame on MIC, saying only its Indian coalition partner would know what transpired at the function.

MIC strategic director Datuk Seri S Vell Paari told theantdaily that he did not view what transpired as “blaming MIC.”

“I don’t think the deputy minister blamed MIC. Basically what he said was right as he claimed the function was organised by MIC and thus, it would be right to ask the group that organised it as they would be in the best position to provide information on what actually transpired there,” said Vell Paari.

He was commenting on Ahmad reportedly seeming to apportion blame by saying the event was arranged by MIC and that “they will have all the relevant information.

“They know the real story. But in the context of the Teluk Intan by-election, it is not a big issue,” Ahmad was quoted as saying, following the revelation of the fiasco.

In fact, some of those “crossing over” said they had always been BN members and supporters.

According to Ahmad, the “fiasco” was not a big issue, saying voters in Teluk Intan should focus on the by-election.

“I do not see a mistake by MIC in organising the programme. It is not a big issue. My main priority is to develop Teluk Intan, That is the key point in this by-election, not side issues like this,” the deputy finance minister was quoted as saying.

Former Malaysian Young Leaders Association (MYLA) northern region branch chairman Jeevithan P Ganasan was not amused by the whole debacle

“They assumed they could bring these people there and brainwash them into changing their minds. For example, look at the taxi driver S Sahtin who was interviewed by the journalists. She said she was invited to just attend the event. She had no idea she would be portrayed as crossing over.

“Asking her to throw the DAP flag and replace it with the BN flag was such a lame move. Being surrounded by the deputy minister as well as BN people, with cameras flashing in her face and the emcee goading her on, she would naturally have been intimidated into doing as told,” he said.