Battle for Malaysia in Penanti despite BN’s absence

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid (Malaysian Insider)
PENANTI, May 25 — Pakatan Rakyat leaders last night told Penanti voters to send a strong signal against what they described as the despotic rule of Barisan Nasional (BN) by “slapping” them with more votes for the opposition pact.

This became the central theme in the speeches of all three Pakatan giants at a ceramah here, making their intentions clear that there is no slowing down in campaigning despite a sure win catapulted by BN’s absence in the by-election.
Just like in his speech on Saturday, opposition icon and PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said BN’s absence is no cause for celebration.
The battle against BN, Anwar said, now lies in mathematics.
He reasoned although the ruling coalition has no presence here in Penanti, BN will do its best to dent Pakatan’s popularity by reducing the majority votes it had garnered in the 2008 general election.
This will be done through “proxies”, said Anwar in an apparent reference made to the three independent candidates Pakatan will face in the fight for the Penanti state seat.
[The large gathering at the Taman Guar Perahu field listening closely to the speeches by Pakatan Rakyat leaders at the Ceramah Perdana in Penanti last night. – Picture by Choo Choy May] “We must send a strong protest signal against BN that the people will no longer tolerate their despotic rule.
“And the way to do this is to increase voter turnout and increase the majority votes from what we gained in the last general elections,” he said.
Fellow Pakatan leaders, PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang and DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang also urged Penanti voters to come out in huge numbers and increase the opposition’s majority in seven days time.
“Nevermind that this by-election is not as vibrant as other by-elections.
“Penanti is important because the increase of votes for Pakatan would send a strong signal that the people are rej