Anwar accuses BN of spending RM100m to win

By Adib Zalkapli (Malaysian Insider)
KUALA LUMPUR, April 26 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today accused the Barisan Nasional (BN) of spending more than RM100 million to win the Hulu Selangor by-election yesterday.
“Over RM100 million was spent by BN to win a thin majority in Hulu Selangor: that amounts to RM65,000 per person,” said Anwar in a statement today.
The federal opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) suffered its second by-election defeat since 2008 in the peninsular yesterday when BN’s P. Kamalanathan defeated former Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim by 1,725 votes.
Kamalanathan obtained 24,997 votes while Zaid received 23,272 to win the seat which was previously held by PKR.
“This means that Barisan Nasional has learned nothing since the March 2008 elections. Character assassination, racism, bribery and brute force may help to win one or two by-elections. But the people of Malaysia will not be deceived,” said the opposition leader.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had defended the government spending in Hulu Selangor saying that it was not meant to buy votes but to help the public.
The BN chairman also accused the PR-led Selangor government of doing the same thing as it had approved various projects in the semi-rural constituency.
The federal government is estimated to have approved projects worth about RM70 million in the district the size of Malacca.
The state government had also awarded land titles to Chinese new villagers and approved land applications from a Chinese school.
The move resulted in PR winning in all Chinese-majority polling districts. PKR however failed to win in the Malay-dominated Felda settlements and rural villages.
“We increased our popular support in Hulu Selangor. We know we have to do more to reach out to our supporters in the rural heartland, particularly the Felda settlements. I am committed to this challenge and my resolve is unwavering,” said Anwar.
The PKR de facto leader also blamed the Election Commission (EC) for allegedly failing to ensure fair elections and accused the police of intimidating PR supporters.
“Dozens of ministers campaigned every day; the Election Commission appears guilty once again of violating its mandate to ensure fair elections; and the police intimidated our supporters and there are reports that they even prevented some voters from reaching the polling stations,” said Anwar.