Sanggang By-Election: Obscene Gesture Photos Reflect Campaig

For further details :- … ne_gesture

The deputy prime minister, Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, impliedly
says the mentri besar of Pahang, [size=150]Dato’ Seri Adnan Yaakob, was right to
make obscene gestures and wriggle his buttocks at the opposition – one
which would land us in court if we did what he did. The poor man, don’t
you understand, you idiots, was provoked. “So, I was not surprised that
he had reacted in the manner he did,” he said. What was this grave
provocation? Let Dato’ Seri Adnan tell you: “They shouted nasty
remarks like “hancur Barisan” and “mampus Barisan” (destructi[/size]on and
death to Barisan (National Front). The people must understand, he
intoned piously, any statements such as these is “sudden and grave
provocation”. Besides, he went “in and out of the nomination centre
about four times to ensure the situation was under control and that all
National Front had enough drinking water”. Further more, the PAS crowd
called him a “samseng” (gangster) – a pardonable assumption since only
five months ago, he beat up a PAS supporter at the nomination centre in
Bentong in the runup to the General Elections. (But this is not what
happened: the crowd, not just PAS supporters, called him “bodoh”
(stupid), “samgseng”, and worse.”) Be that as it may, he still behaved as the
honourable mentri besar of Pahang should not.

 Dato' Seri Abdullah, on the other hand, sees this incident as proof

of the opposition’s freedom of action. They could load photographs –
taken, as the New Straits Times proudly tells you to divert attention
away from it, by “unknown photographers” – on to the Internet. The
photograph can be seen on Videotapes and
blownup photographs of the incident are regularly shown by the PAs
campaign. “They should realise they have the freedom in this
by-election to conduct their campaigns. They cannot turn around and say
the election is not free and fair,” he added. Ah, now we know! The
Sanggang byelections is fair because the opposition can upload
photographs of the incident on to the Internet. This no doubt is why
the mentri besar of Pahang intends to download these photographs to
explain to the people of Sanggang why he behaved as execrably as he did.
But if indeed the byelections is free as he says it is – as no doubt he
would of the general elections was and, no doubt, the UMNO divisional
elections – why does he have to repeat it at every possible moment?
What has the uploading of photographs on to the Internet got to do with
campaign freedom? Or is the deputy prime minister telling us, as the
Prime Minister is quick to deny, there is censorship of Internet? And
that the government has decided, on this occasion, to allow it. But,
the speed with which the National Front reacted to Dato’ Seri Adnan’s
provocation does indicate its nervousness at the incident.

 However one looks at it, the National Front must be returned in

Sanggang which Dato’ Abdullah Kia held until he died last month for
UMNO’s continued health. So, it pulls no stops in the name of a free
and fair election. The federal information ministry rushed 70
information officers to keep mosques and suraus untainted by PAS “and to
safeguard the integrity of Islam”, working no doubt on UMNO’s belief of
PAS as un-Islamic. But UMNO itself makes no mention of countering the
officially termed PAS lies. The Pahang information director-general,
Dato’ Zainal Abidin Kadir, says UMNO regarded the by-election as “very
important”. PAS clearly does not understand this importance: the PAS
candidate, the suave lawyer and former National Front MP, Dato’
Hishamuddin Yahya, raises local issues in the polls, like the
distribution of Felcra shares only to those known to UMNO. This is
nothing new. After all, state governments withdraw deposits from banks
and cancels professional services from those whose staff is perceived to
have campaigned for the opposition.

 The national agenda is, it would seem, to divide the country into

those who support the UMNO leadership and those who do not. This may
not have an impact in the urban areas, except in the clubs and Internet
discussion groups, but it is live in rural areas such as Sanggang, where
the voters know why they were denied what they should have got. Such
behaviour as Dato’ Hishamuddin raises of unfairness only proves PAS
narrowmindedness. But the Pahang mentri besar insulting Malaysians by
wriggling his buttocks and making obscene gestures is proof of UMNO’s,
and the National Front’s, commitment to a Malaysia one can be proud to
live in. After all, as the National Front candidate, Mr Redzuan Harun,
put it so aptly: his eductional level (severely challenged when
compared to his opponent) does not matter. “Even if you hold a degree
from a university abroad, you cannot do much to improve the people’s
standard of living as long as you are not in the Government,” he adds.
As no doubt UMNO and the National Front finds out in Kelantan and

M.G.G. Pillai