It’s raining goodies in Johor
With Pakatan geared up to launch an assault on the state, BN is leaving nothing to chance and pampers the voters with gifts, including whisky bottles for Indian teachers.
MUAR: After Pakatan Rakyat declared its intention of making inroads into Barisan Nasional’s stronghold of Johor, the ruling coalition is leaving nothing to chance, especially when it concerns Indian voters.
These voters are being showered with cash and hampers, and leading the goodie train is none other than Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Menteri Besar Abdul Ghani Othman.
An ex-MIC state leader told FMT that while the Indians here have been traditional supporters of BN, the party leaders however are not taking this granted.
“Even though in some of the constituencies, Indian voters are as low as three or five percent, they still may be the deciding factor in ensuring that Johor remains a BN fortress,” he said.
Among others, the menteri besar announced that the state government has allocted RM500,000 for the construction of a Sri Murugan Centre (SMC) Ashramam in Muar town.
This is in addition to the education grant of RM100,000 a year allocated for the centre since 2007. The centre provides tuition for children from the lower income bracket.
Speaking to FMT, state SMC co-ordinator P Subramaniam said the RM500,000 was promised by the state government prior to the 2008 general election to support the centre’s effort in securing a plot of land for the construction of the ashramam.
“We are happy to get the money, but we will seek further funds from the state to complete the RM2.5 million ashramam,” he added.
Meanwhile, Muhyiddin, who is also the MP for Pagoh, recently handed cash to single mothers and the elderly to offset their medical bills. They received between RM300 and RM1,000 each.
Apart from this, Tamil school pupils effected by the floods here in January received RM200 each.
For the record, the state government paid RM500 to each household affected by the floods in February and the federal government also compensated those who suffered loss of crops and livestock.
“This has nothing to do with the general election,” said an aide to Muhyiddin. “We always provide assistance to the people. Our help is not seasonal nor confined to a particular race.”
‘Whisky bottles for teachers’
In Batu Pahat, several Tamil school headmasters and their assistants were suprised to see hampers on their tables when they returned to work after the Deepavali break.
What stunned them the most was that the hampers contained a bottle of Famous Grouse whisky.
The hampers were from the Batu Pahat MP Mohd Puad Zarkashi, who is also the deputy education minister.
“Most of us were suprised and felt uncomfortable. Firstly, the hamper contained a liqour bottle and secondly, we as civil servants should not receive such gifts
“Perhaps it is the deputy minister’s way of thanking us for our contribution,” said a teacher, who declined to be named.
However, he said that sending flowers would suffice and there was no need for liquor bottles.