Kuala Besut by-election: Dirty tactic smears campaign

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (C), his wife Rosmah Mansor (L) and deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin celebrate the Barisan Nasional coalition electoral victory, on May 6, 2013.

BESUT - Pledges of clean and gentlemanly campaigning for today's by-election flew out of the window a day before polling, with dubious SMSes and leaflets asking voters to collect money from Barisan Nasional.

Barisan is accusing PAS of distributing the leaflets claiming that the coalition would distribute RM800 (S$317) to elderly voters, RM700 to heads of families and RM600 each to young voters and women.

PAS, meanwhile, has denied being involved in sending SMSes telling voters to collect zakat money from Barisan's candidate, Tengku Zaihan Che Ku Abd Rahman.

The SMSes were sent from a phone number belonging to one of PAS' local leaders.

However, PAS claimed it was a victim of manipulation and that the phone line had been cloned.

Both Barisan and PAS lodged police reports at the Kuala Besut police station yesterday morning.

Barisan by-election director Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh accused PAS of breaching the clean campaign agreement by using dirty tactics to make voters angry at the coalition.

The leaflets were purportedly signed by the Kuala Besut by-election secretary Salleh Abdul Latiff, and were distributed in mosques and voters' homes after subuh prayers yesterday morning.

Idris said since then, many voters had approached Umno branch offices to claim the money and left angry when told there was no such thing.

"Some Umno branch leaders were also unhappy after receiving the leaflets as they felt they had not been allocated the money for distribution," he added.

Meanwhile, Besut PAS chief, Wan Azhar Wan Ahmad, whose telephone number was used to send SMSes urging voters to collect zakat money from Tengku Zaihan, claimed he was also a victim.

He said because the SMSes were from his cellphone, many people had gathered at his house to claim the money.

"PAS does not practise the giving of money during campaigning, and we believe this was the work of a desperate party," said Wan Azhar.

Tengku Zaihan is upset over SMSes urging voters to collect RM500 from him on the eve of polling.

"I believe this is provocation by certain parties to make people angry and dissatisfied with Barisan," he said.