Malaysia election machines up and running

Campaign fest: Devotees at the Sri Subramaniar Temple carrying ‘paal kodum’ (milk pots) in celebration of Chithrai Pournami festival. Around 1,000 devotees attended the event in Bandar Sunway.
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

PETALING JAYA - The election campaign has just kicked off and, already, the candidates are at it in full swing. In fact, it was a rush from the moment the candidacy papers were filed.

The electoral hopefuls are going the extra mile to reach out to voters, from organising musical concerts to visiting religious sites.

In Kedah, Barisan candidates Datuk Yoo Wei How (Alor Setar) and Tan Eng Hwa (Kota Darul Aman) chose to join the Hindu community for a special prayer session at the Sri Muniswaran temple in Alor Semadom, which is over 100 years old.

Although they will be hosting ceramah in their respective areas, both candidates felt this visit was a different and more effective way to mingle with their constituents.

In Klang, Datuk Ching Eu Boon and Port Klang state assembly candidate Sheikh Rajesh Sheikh Ahmad visited the Sri Balasubramanyar Temple on Saturday night, the eve of the annual Chithrai Pournami festival.

“I met the devotees there, introduced myself and spoke with them,” said Sheikh Rajesh.

Ching went to the temple to meet his friend, Indian classical dancer M. Thulasinathan who was performing there.

Ching had helped the dancer pay for his air ticket to India six years ago when Thulasinathan went there to study dance.

Seremban’s Rasah MCA candidate Ng Kian Nam said he would be organising a few singing concerts with a theme on democracy. What’s more, he will be singing a classical Tamil song.

“Other than holding ceramah, this is a more effective and relaxed way to connect with voters,” he said in Seremban.

Even as a fan of the traditional walkabout, Tanjong Malim MCA candidate Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon yesterday attended various events to engage with different segments of people.

From meeting with different youth groups to attending a football tournament with the orang asli community, Dr Mah’s schedule was diverse.

“There are many ways to directly connect and engage with voters,” said the Perak MCA chairman.

However, morning walkabouts and ceramah remain an important staple in the candidates’ campaign diaries.

The Paloh market came alive as Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein dropped by to mingle with the vendors and patrons there.

The incumbent Sembrong MP, who is defending his seat, also posed for pictures with the patrons of the Yee Feng coffee shop.

In Penang, Nurul Izzah Anwar surprised folks having breakfast early in the morning at the Sama Gagah marketplace.

Donning a cap, the Permatang Pauh PKR candidate mingled with market-goers and also took pictures with them.

“Voters want a representative they can engage with and the one who best represents their concerns.

“As such, walkabouts are the most effective way to reach them,” she said.

Walkabouts can also mean running into rivals. DAP’s Steven Sim bumped into MCA’s candidate for the Berapit state seat, Goh Swee Gim.

The air was cordial and friendly as Sim, who is standing for the Bukit Mertajam parliamentary seat, posed for a picture with Goh, who would be up against his comrade Heng Lee Lee. But the candidate who faces the most torrid time is probably Tanjung Bunga hopeful Zairil Khir Johari.

Many residents of condominiums in the area tore into him over the rampant hillslope development in the area during a meeting with the Barisan Nasional candidate and state chief Teng Chang Yeow.

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