Malaysia

Najib dishes out more money as race tightens

SIBU, May 15 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak made an 11th-hour appearance tonight on the stump here with the race for tomorrow’s Sibu by-election vote a dead heat.

Making a last-minute pitch in a DAP stronghold, he announced an allocation of RM5 million for flood-mitigation projects in Rejang Park.

The announcement came just three hours before the campaign period for the by-election ends.

“I want to make a deal with you. Can we have an understanding or not?” Najib asked some 1,000 people who attended a public rally at the residential area.

“The understanding is quite simple. I help you, you help me,” said the Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman.

BN’s Robert Lau Hui Yew is contesting against Sarawak DAP chairman Wong Ho Leng and independent Narawi Haron in the by-election.

“If Robert Lau becomes the MP on Sunday, on Monday I will ask the cheque to be prepared,” Najib told the all-Chinese audience.

Najib decided to make a final-day appearance after BN campaign reports suggested the DAP had closed the gap on the ruling coalition’s initial lead in the race.

In Election 2008 the DAP won more than 60 per cent of the Chinese votes.

The community form about 67 per cent of the 54,659 voters in Sibu.

‘I help you, you help me,’ Najib tells the crowd at the ceramah tonight, May 15, 2010. — Picture by Jack Ooi‘I help you, you help me,’ Najib tells the crowd at the ceramah tonight, May 15, 2010. — Picture by Jack Ooi“Do we have a deal or not? We do! You want the RM5 million, I want Robert Lau to win,” he told the crowd.

The campaign stop is the most populated residential area in Sibu, home to about 15,000 voters.

Najib also defended the move to dish out goodies to the voters during the by-election campaign.

“I came a few days ago and I felt like Chinese New Year because I have been giving out ang pows,” he said.

“But it is not because of by-election, but because we are listening to you,” said Najib.

During his last visit to Sibu early this week, Najib presented financial allocations of RM15 million to Sibu Chinese schools.

Najib said his announcements of financial allocations were not empty promises as could be proven in Hulu Selangor.

During the Hulu Selangor by-election last month Najib had also made a surprise visit to the Chinese-dominated areas of the constituency.

In the short visit he announced financial allocations of more than RM3 million for a Chinese school and two cultural organisations at a new village.

Despite the financial pledges, BN obtained fewer than 30 per cent of the Hulu Selangor Chinese votes but won the contest with the support from Malay and Indian votes.