Despite being called a stooge, Kamalanathan gives Ibrahim Ali a hug

By Clara Chooi (Malaysian Insider)
SERENDAH, April 22 — Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate for the Hulu Selangor by-election P. Kamalanathan hugged controversial Malay right-wing leader Datuk Ibrahim Ali tonight, despite attacks from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) about his alleged subservience to Umno.
Kamalanathan was seen hugging Ibrahim, known for his controversial stand in defending “Malay rights”, when the independent MP turned up at a campaign rally attended by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Ibrahim, who contested Election 2008 on a PAS ticket, is now backing Umno and has been on the stump for BN in the crucial Hulu Selangor by-election campaigning for Malay votes in the rural heartland of Selangor.
While his fiery rhetoric is a draw for conservative Malay voters, Ibrahim’s controversial rhetoric has been criticised by non-Malay leaders in BN and PR.
Kamalanathan has already drawn criticisms for bending down to kiss Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s hand during the campaign.
The PR campaign has latched on to the kiss as an example of what they claim was evidence that he is an Umno stooge.
Earlier, Kamalanathan said he would employ a fresh strategy tomorrow as he enters the final leg of his hectic campaign trail.
The 44-year-old public relations manager, whose campaign has lately been plagued by public relations blunders, said tonight that this “new strategy” was very close to his heart.
The announcement of this new strategy comes at an opportune time for Kamalanathan in view of the increasing flak he had been receiving for allegedly being subservient to Umno.
“I will begin this (strategy) tomorrow. I cannot inform you yet what it is but what I can say is that it is something I am keeping very close to my heart,” he told reporters when attending a special ceramah featuring Dr Mahathir tonight.
Kamalanathan would not elaborate.
He declined to comment on his act of kissing Muhyiddin’s hand.
He had earlier told The Malaysian Insider that the act was one of respect for his elders and a mere depiction of Malaysian culture.