Hi, just back from my 'search' mission. Not entirely unsuccessfully
Even though I didn't manage to track down Mr X, I must have beaten the bush rather vigorously because he wrote to me.
Still, I am not sure where he is, in Machu Picchu or the Annapurna trail? Let's leave that for a while, because I want to write on two other issues, one of which I had been completely in the dark about during my time away.
Poor Jeff Ooi is under seige again, from the usual suspects; this time he has a soul-mate in Ahirudin Attan, Rocky's Bru reputable blogger. I will come to that shortly.
The other issue is the by-election in Batu Talam. Previously I has posted on UMNO's political anxiety in not having an opponent in the by-election. I now read of one Mr Ng Chee Pang presenting himself as an independent candidate to oppose UMNO's candidate.
So today is D-Day – no, not for the voters of Batu Talam because the candidate who would emerge as the winner is already known – one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to predict the outcome of the absurdity, that of a 22-year old greenhorn standing as a last minute independent against an UMNO candidate in an UMNO stronghold with the latter enjoying the full power and force of the ruling party’s political machinery behind his campaigning.
Ng Chee Pang has no resources other than his dad and brother. He doesn't have any poster, nor even a polling agent. According to malaysiakini reports, he hasn't even made the usual campaugn rounds, though he averred he would in Cheroh.
His platform? He' putting himself as a candidate ‘because he likes to contest’. His father, who doubles as the campaign manager, told reporters that they have no issues to raise and their manifesto is, get this, 'we like all parties'.
It’s not David against Goliath. It’s a hairy chest Godzilla against a mosquito. But alas, as we Malaysians are aware, a teeny weeny itsy bitsy mosquito can still provide an irritating bite. In fact, precisely because of his absurb preparation (or lack of), if he so much as gather any noticeable amount of votes, like say 200 votes, it'll be a shock for the Barisan Nasional.
Yes, today would be D-Day for a number of parties, but in particular the MCA. Ong Ka Ting would be praying that independent candidate Ng Chee Pang not only loses his deposit, but receives less than 100 sympathy votes.
Batu Talam is a Malay majority constituency of 10,500 ‘registered’ voters, of whom only 1,200 are Chinese Malaysians. If young Ng receives anything more than 100 votes, or woefully for Ong Ka Ting, more than 500 votes (50% of Batu Talam's Chinese Malaysians registered as voters), the MCA will lose much face, and the Barisan Nasional may expect a torrid time for the next general election.
Sometimes I feel sorry for Ong as Chinese Malaysians have made him and the MCA responsible for the shenanigans of UMNO. I wonder why the hostility hasn’t been spread around to include the Gerakan and PPP.
Needless to say, Gerakan is wisely keeping an extremely low profile and pretending to be a multi-ethnic party, leaving its real nemesis to suffer collateral damage.
As I had blogged previously, at this point in time UMNO wants a resounding victory against a visible opposing candidate. As the Penangites say, “Boh hoo, hair pun hoe”* meaning half a loaf (of opposition candidate) is better than none.
* no fish, so a prawn would do (perhaps depicting a time when fish were then more valued and thus priced higher than prawns)
But such has been the worry of a hollow victory that the UMNO ameliorating spin has been conducted incessantly. UMNO is deeply worried about a poor turnout (created mainly by the expected boycott from PAS supporters), blaming the opposition parties for persuading the locals to tear up ballots etc.
If they get their 3,000 majority, they’ll spin it to Ben Hur-ish effect but if they don’t they have already hedged the expected poor turnout by piling on the blame on the opposition for discouraging voters in Batu Talam.
Deputy Information Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi even revealed the presence of the bookies in Batu Talam. He claimed that in conjunction with the by-election, the bookies were active in Batu Talam, particularly in Cheroh.
He said: “We want the police to investigate this matter and curb it immediately. This is serious. We hope the Chinese voters, especially in, are not influenced by these bookies.”
Well, …….. I suppose it's those damn bloody bookies, a straw which poor Ong Ka Ting may cling on to and not fall off the face of the Earth.
UMNO's yin-yang candidates for Batu Talam?