Tuesday, July 23, 2013
From BN’s pledges and promises, Dzulkefly said each ballot in Kuala Besut is worth RM27,000. - See more at:
Barisan Nasional (BN) has pledged a total of RM467.12 million in its 12-day campaign for the Kuala Besut by-election, rivals PAS alleged today in what it said is possibly the most ever spent on a by-election.
Today’s estimate by PAS topped the RM330 million that yesterday moved electoral watchdog Bersih to cry foul over the alleged vote-buying for the crucial poll.
“The grand total that we have counted up until this moment reached RM476.19 million. With a total of 17,683 voters, we announce that the value of each ballot for N.01 Kuala Besut reached RM27,000,” PAS’s Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad told reporters here.
“This puts the by-election in the 13th parliamentary session among the costliest in history.”
Dzulkefly could not yet disclose the total amount spent by the Islamist party in its campaign, but stressed that its spending has not been as lavish as BN’s.
Yesterday, Bersih had announced the pledges made so far meant that about RM19,000 will be spent for each registered voter in the state seat.
“Up to last Saturday, as compiled by PAS from media reports, financial promises and allocations by federal and state agencies for the Kuala Besut area have totalled at least RM337,490,750,” the watchdog said in a statement yesterday.
Among the projects announced so far are a RM250 million river dredging project to desilt the estuary of Sungai Besut, a 2km breakwater along the coast, and a RM35 million project to fix the busted Lowvier dam in Pengkalan Nangka here.
On July 17, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had launched 72 units of low-cost housing in Kampung Lay Out, Tok Saboh here costing more than RM10 million. Another low-cost housing project with 200 homes worth RM28 million was also announced in Pulau Perhentian.
Yesterday, Health Minister Datuk Seri S. Subramaniam launched two Klinik 1 Malaysia with a total cost of RM39 million, while Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said announced a 500-unit low-cost housing project in Kuala Besut worth RM22.5 million.
During campaigning last week, Ahmad also told voters that they must support BN in tomorrow’s by-election to allow planned development there to continue.
Deputy Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman was more discreet when he said on July 14 that the apparent timing of the projects was not made with the election in mind.
“If aid is given during elections, it is just a coincidence, like my coming to Kuala Besut, it is the custom of the Malays to bring souvenirs to the host,” he was quoted as saying by national news agency Bernama.
Kuala Besut is considered an Umno stronghold, as it has won there by over 2,000 votes in the previous two elections. But the party and the larger BN coalition are sparing no effort to ensure that it does not fall into PR’s hands.
BN’s Tengku Zaihan Che Ku Abdul Rahman will face local boy from PAS, Azlan Yusof, for the Terengganu state seat by-election which was called following the death of Dr A. Rahman Mokhtar on June 26 from lung cancer.
In Election 2013, Dr Rahman had defeated PAS’s Napisah Ismail with a comfortable 2,434-vote majority. The state seat has 17,679 registered voters, of whom 98 per cent are Malays.