Najib to rebut Dr Mahathir in last lap of Slim race

Zainal Epi, Malay Mail Online

About 2,540 Chinese voters in Slim are still undecided.

Their sentiments are hard to read as few have attended the rallies held by MCA on behalf of Barisan Nasional and DAP for the candidate of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s still-unofficial Pejuang party.

Even Dr Mahathir’s presence at campaign stops yesterday failed to draw them.

This has left BN and Dr Mahathir’s party without a clear idea of how they will vote tomorrow.

Today is the final chance for Dr Mahathir’s representative, Amir Khusyairi Mohamad Tanusi, who is contesting as an independent, to sway voters.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir visited the Malay-based Besout and Felda Trolak where there is a Chinese-run cottage industry.

The Chinese turnout was low at both. However, Amir Khusyairi took Dr Mahathir’s presence as a morale booster in the race where he has trailed BN’s Mohd Zaidi Aziz.

Amir Khusyairi’s campaign has not been able to match BN’s election machinery.

Today, another former prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, hit the campaign trail for BN.

He made a round of the Malay areas this morning and is scheduled to end the night at a rally where he will respond to Dr Mahathir’s allegations from yesterday.

Najib already responded to some, such as Felda’s development and Dr Mahathir’s given reason for forming Pejuang to replace a “damaged” Umno.

With Malay voters expected to side with BN, Najib is working on the Indian vote that was believed to favour PKR.

Since PKR is sitting out of the by-election and not helping Amir Khusyairi, BN’s Indian component  MIC and the BN-aligned IPF and Makal Sakti have been courting the group.

The nearly 3,200 Indian voters can be a bonus to any candidate.

With Amir Khusyairi not seeming to connect with Indian voters here, BN is making a big push for their vote.

The slow pace of the campaign suggests that BN will win it as predicted.

The question is whether the coalition can repeat its Chini performance when independent candidates lost their deposits.