MUAR, Sept 7 — Perikatan Nasional (PN) campaigners for the Pulai and Simpang Jeram by-elections in Johor have been forced to work without funds since Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (Bersatu) bank accounts were frozen, its information committee member Badrul Hisham Shaharin claimed in a ceramah here last night.
The politician who goes by the moniker Che’gu Bard claimed the lack of funds had hobbled the PN election machinery as campaigners were unable to move more aggressively and could not hold programmes to approach voters.
He described the situation as one in which PN is invited to a fight, but have to slug it out with their hands and legs tied-up and faces covered.
“I feel that this is the worst election for us as the party has no money. As of today’s election campaign from the recent six state elections, the party's account was frozen and with some even confiscated.
“We are not able to move the machinery to campaign and the programmes are also very limited,” he said during the Ceramah Kelompol PN at the Kampung Ulu polling district centre in Bakri, Johor last night.
The political speech was also aired on the coalition's Facebook account.
With less than two days left to the twin by-elections, the former Johor Bersatu elections operations director said the campaign needs to be done in a more strategic manner and focus on the grassroots.
“If we really focus on winning, by putting PN’s victory above other interests for the remaining twenty hours until this Saturday, I believe and am confident that we can reverse our fortunes and win,” he said.
Badrul Hisham added that the government ban on using issues about race, religion and royalty (3R) had also hampered PN’s campaign.
He said that Malay-Muslims have a need to talk about their interests in Islam and Malay empowerment.
“Are we being colonised? We can't even mention anything about being Malay or Muslim.
“On the other hand, if the Chinese talk about their interests, that's fine. Similarly, even for the Indian community as well,” he claimed.
Badrul Hisham, who was once a popular left-wing social activist from the late 1990s to 2000s who had switched political parties several times, said that it was human nature to talk about one’s race and religious interest.
“So what's the problem? When we touch on the 3Rs, they say we are racists, terrorists. Actually, these 3Rs are the narrative of the unity government regime because they want to throw, hide and close all of their economic management failures,” he claimed.
He also mocked PN’s political opponent Umno in the latter’s new-found partnership with Pakatan Harapan component DAP.
Badrul Hisham claimed the Malay nationalist party who had been against the “Malaysian Malaysia” slogan for the longest time had been dealt a huge blow after failing to persuade the DAP to amend its party constitution.
The Pulai parliamentary and Simpang Jeram state by-elections are being held following the July 23 death of their incumbent Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub who was also the minister of domestic trade and cost of living.
For Pulai, PN is fielding Zulkifli Jaafar against Suhaizan Kaiat from PH and independent Samsudin Mohamad Fauzi.
For Simpang Jeram, the candidates are Nazri Abdul Rahman (PH), Mohd Mazri Yahya (PN), and independent S. Jegananthan.