Remember this name, Maimun, the 89 year old independent candidate in Kuala Terengganu. She was interviewed by the Malay Mail a few days ago and she really impressed me with her composed and sharp reply to the reporters questions. She had attempted to contest at least four times before this but never got through, either due to financial constraint or some technical errors. She was happy that she made it this time and she seemd unfazed at the possibility of losing her RM10,000 deposit. To top it all she is illiterate but she said that should not be a problem because, once elected, there will be a lot of people who would be doing the writing and reading for her. Some answers huh..and she added further that she wanted to make sure that the younger generation would get adequate education and would not end up like her! Sounds like a seasoned politician talking. She meet her potential voters on her trusted 10-year old Raleigh bike and at the same time making the sales pitch – she is a door to door textile merchant. She lived alone since her husband died many years ago. Apparently all her immediate relatives and children thought she is out of her mind in contesting the seat. Asked about the amount of money that she spend for the election, she said , she spent RM3000 for her posters and RM 200 on the shed in front of her house that served as her operation room – that is definitely a lot cheaper than a piece of Awang Adek’s cigar!
Speaking of the amount of money a candidate spend to get elected remind me of the limit set by the EC. I am not sure exactly how much but I think it is somewhere around RM200K. Now, if you are driving along the MRRII in KL, somewhere along Kampong Pandan near TESCO you would see a few advertising billboards. On one of them you would see a huge grinning figure of a candidate with a mast head BERSIH, CEKAP, MESRA followed by the some Chinese characters which I presumed the translation of the Malay slogan. It is not the actual message that caught my attention but the amount of money needed to put up such a huge advert. It could easily run up to a few hundred thousands. Not to mention the banners that adorn every lampost within the viccinity. Personally i think it is a waste of resources. Do not tell me people in Pandan constituency do not this man who has been their MP since the “ketipang payung” days back in the early nineties. To the uninitiated, Ong Tee Keat won the then Ampang Jaya seat against the late Datuk Harun, who stood as independent candidate using the umbrella symbol – hence the term “ketipang payung”, with reference to a famous Malay folk song being used as part of the election campaign. Sorry about the digression. Back to Ong’s huge poster on that billboard, if the people of Kg Pandan do not know him, an assistant minister, a long serving MP, something must be wrong somewhere. Probably he has not been meeting his voters often enough which render the fear that the people of Pandan do not recognise him and hence the need for a huge bill board to announce his candidacy. I think the money for the billboard alone could have been put to better use for the benefit of the rakyat – unless somebody is sponsoring him.