The Malay Mail 13 Feb 2013
BARISAN NASIONAL (BN)’s stint to woo Penang voters during its state-level Chinese New Year open house is now termed as a `farewell party’ for the national alliance here following its alleged failed attempt to win over Penangites.
Penang Malay Congress (PMC) president Rahmad Isahak said despite featuring South Korean K-pop sensation Psy as the star act at Han Chiang College grounds on Feb 11, BN failed to attract less than half the expected figure of 80,000 people to its event.
“It was a miscalculation by BN to bring Psy to Penang. They dug their own grave when the crowd itself said they were only there to watch Psy perform. This too was witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself,” said Rahmad.
In a statement, he added that the majority of the crowd’s negative response was a `warning’ that they could not be `bought over’ by entertainment or money.
“We thank the event sponsor for bringing an international act here but from a political angle, we believe the state BN should apologise to Najib for the crowd’s truthful response to him.
“This is an early warning by voters to BN that they cannot be bought by money or entertainment. It is also hurtful that Najib repeated BN’s promise of affordable housing and monorail that would only be implemented if they won Penang.
“These are promises that should have been granted when BN was the state government. We feel that to pull off this open house was a desperate attempt to woo voters which inadvertently turned out to be their farewell party,” he said.
Rahmad added that this was a `major mistake’ committed at the last moment just as general election was around the corner.
“In 2008, BN was toppled by Pakatan Rakyat due to the former’s unparalleled extravagance. Once again, despite being the opposition in Penangm they are repeating the same mistake of being extravagant,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has asked Najib to reveal the cost of Psy’s performance and who was the sponsor of his act.
“Nobody knows how much it cost because BN said they did spend a single sen. I believe Najib when he said taxpayers’ money was not used to bring Psy but people have a right to know the cost.
“In the interest of transparency, he should explain who the sponsor is and how much was paid to Psy. Najib must come clean on this because BN is a political party. It must not be kept a secret,” he said.
Later, he visited Jalan Siram where 1km of the stretch from the Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR) to Jalan Raja Uda would be made into four lanes from two lanes at a cost of RM3.5 million in two years.
“Road usage here is heavy and as a long-term plan, this road will be expanded to allow smoother traffic flow. It will take two years before work starts because of land acquisitions,” he told reporters.