FREE DAY 8 What's happening in the state election campaigns around Sarawak today? Quotable quotes, planned events and unplanned incidents as they take place.
8.24am: A total of 18,363 eligible postal voters commence voting today. Out of that, 12,000 are army personnel, around 6,000 police while 34 voters are living abroad.
Chinese-majority Kota Sentosa, where incumbent DAP candidate Chong Chieng Jen is facing BN’s Alfred Yap, has the largest bloc of postal voters, about 3,000, up by 1,000 compared with 2006.
Meanwhile, DAP representatives report they collected about RM16,000 and RM13,000 at the party's rallies in Miri and Kuching respectively yesterday.
8.38am: New Straits Times reports that both the state and federal governments were dishing out goodies in Sarawak yesterday.
In Santubong, 300 residents from three villages in the Malay-majority area are told to expect moving to low-cost housing by 2013, costing the state RM15 million and the residents, RM40,000 per unit.
State Housing and Urban Development Minister Abang Johari Abang Openg also ended a 15-year wait by 88 families in Malay-majority Demak Laut who were granted temporary occupation of land leases.
Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, meanwhile, allocates RM100,000 for urgent repairs to two schools in Julau in the Iban-majority Ngemah constituency.
10.00am: PAS spiritual adviser and Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat calls on all party members and Pakatan supporters to fast for victory in the Sarawak election.
He made the call on his Facebook and Twitter accounts.
PAS has fielded six candidates in the state polls this time, a record high for the party in Sarawak.
10.00am: In the footsteps of Christian activists, there is now talk of a group of teachers campaigning against the BN in Sarwak's interior.
Sri Aman MP Masir Kujat says he was shocked to hear of this because it is “going against the government” and should not occur, Utusan Borneo reported today.
10.00am: The BN and Pakatan continue their advertisement war in the local Chinese dailies. BN buys a half-page advertisement in See Hua Daily News, slamming DAP's campaign messages, including the use of words such as “orang utan” and “Sarawakians eating grass” as “insults” and “despicable”.
On the other hand, the DAP’s highlights its four female candidates and cites the examples of world renowned female leaders - Corazon Aquino, Aung San Suu Kyi and Mother Teresa. It stresses that Pakatan has more female representatives and candidates than the BN, especially SUPP, which has fielded only female candidates in the 19 seats it is contesting.
10.00am: Local Chinese daily United Daily News front-paged SUPP president George Chan's statement that should his party suffer a great defeat in the election and other BN component parties continue to thrive, the post of deputy chief minister held by the Chinese would be taken over by a bumiputra.
Chan cited the example of PBDS, which lost the deputy chief minister’s post when it fell in the 80s polls.
“Daniel Tajem from PBDS was deputy chief minister. However, after the party was defeated in the state polls due to infighting, its strength has still not been revived until today.
“Once SUPP is defeated, the deputy chief minister’s post will be held by a candidate from a bumiputra party. This is political reality, it is an indisputable fact.”
Chan is currently the deputy chief minister.
10.30am - In Sibu, leaflets stating “Ho Leng sure win, Buong Toon go die”, with a rocket logo printed at the bottom left, are being distributed around town.
BN-SUPP Bukit Assek candidate Chieng Buong Toon took it as a death threat and lodged a police report earlier this morning.
Meanwhile, two of his giant posters put up at Jalan Pedada and his service centre at Jalan Hua Kiew, were as early as 6am today found splashed with red paint.
The incident causes Chieng to call for an emergency press conference at his service centre at 11am.
Bukit Assek is seeing a three-cornered fight among Chieng, incumbent Wong Ho Leng of the DAP and an Independent candidate, Hii Tiong Huat.
11.00am: Miri - DAP Youth chief Anthony Loke criticises SUPP chief George Chan’s claim that the Chinese will lose the deputy chief minister’s post if they vote out the BN as a “scare tactic” to frighten Chinese voters.
“We still don’t know the election result and we also don’t know who will form the government,” the Rasah MP told a press conference.
“For the BN to think that it will definitely form the government shows its arrogant and naïve thinking.”
Loke also cited the example of Penang, saying Gerakan also warned the Chinese community there that they will lose the only Chinese chief minister’s post if they vote the BN out.
“But, after March 8, we not only have a Chinese chief minister, but we also have the first Indian deputy chief minister in the state.”
In Sibu, Chieng Buong Toon burst into tears when interviewed by approximately 10 reporters over the threatening leaflets found around the town.
“I am a new man,I work very hard to serve the people... I can’t understand why I receive this kind of treatment. It isn’t fair to me,” Chieng cried in total disbelief.
He said this is the first death threat he has ever received in 59 years.
“Don’t bring unhealthy political culture to Sarawak’” he said.
Chieng refused to point fingers at any party, including his election rival DAP.
“I don’t know who did this... no proof,” he said. However, he added, the leaflets were meant to force him to pull out of the election.
“I won’t back down, this will further boost my spirit in campaigning. “
Chieng broke down twice during the 15-minute interview, but managed to compose himself afterwards.
Shortly afterwards, news spread that DAP’s Bukit Assek candidate Wong Ho Leng was about to arrive in the area.
Meanwhile, two municipal officers appear at Chieng’s service centre, and have a conversation with Chieng and his men.
Chieng is described as calm by local media, but he once seen breaking down in tears on the night following nomination day when he spoke to about 100 people who attended his ceramah.
He had cried when he spoke about his experience of begging locals to give his flood mitigation plan a chance.
Chieng also denies that the death threat and red paint are of SUPP’s own doing.
“No, I can’t stop people if they want to say something like that,” he says when asked if this was an SUPP trick to counter its underdog situation in the election.
11.40am: Sadong Jaya - Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is welcomed like a bridegroom, with kompang and bunga manggar in this Malay-majority area where he is received by 1,000 people.
11.45am: Kuching - DAP complains that its agents were not allowed to scrutinise the distribution of postal ballots this morning.
“There appears to be a deliberate attempt to steal this election,” DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang tells a press conference today.
Lim also pokes fun at the SUPP for inviting its peninsula Malaysia counterparts to join in the campaign.
“The founding members of SUPP have minimal respect for MCA and Gerakan, but the current crop of SUPP leaders are hoping to be saved by those two parties, which are themselves in a shaky position back in the peninsula,” he says.
12.11pm: Sadong Jaya - Najib quotes once PKR now Independent MP Zulkiflee Noordin's blog that if the PKR de facto leader can lie once in the Sept 16th fiasco, he can lie "two, three or four times again and again".
Najib explains that he does not need to campaign in Sarawak, neither does his deputy or cabinet, but he is prime minister for the people of Sarawak, too ,and they have a right to express their woes to him.
He also tells the crowd, who mostly raised their hands when asked who will vote for the BN, that PAS, which is contesting here against the BN lacks the skill to execute change.
12.30pm: Sibu - Incumbent DAP Bukit Assek candidate Wong Ho Leng strongly denies splashing paint on his rival Chieng Buong Toon's poster and billboard, and distributing death threat leaflets.
He condemns such acts, and welcomes a police investigation, blaming the SUPP for orchestrating the acts to fish sympathy votes for Chieng.
Wong also urges the police to look into the possibilities of such an angle to issue.
"Chieng had done it(burst into tears) twice, I will not be surprised if the third episode happens," he says at the daily by DAP press conference.
Wong also urges Chieng not to repeat (crying) and compete in a honest and genuine manner.
Dudong Yap Hoi Liong then condemns the act of vote buying, and announces that the DAP has slipped a "spy" in every longhouse to detect vote buying.
"I have received many complaints, we will gather details and lodge police reports", he tells the press conference.
"We will set up a task force and put two to five people to watch", he adds.
Wong also reveals that he has received seven to eight complaints of the "police" threatening to arrest those voters who cast ballots against the BN.
However, Wong says he has yet to determine if the complaints are genuine in the sense that the police are really involved.
1.45pm: Asajaya - Flyers attacking PAS are spotted at a small shop by the roadside here. The flyers condemning PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat are the same as those spotted during the Merlimau by-election.
According to a shop owner, an unidentified woman had stopped by and asked her to distribute the flyers at her shop which also displays posters of BN and PKR candidates for Asajaya.
PAS is contesting in neighbouring Sadong Jaya, which is about 15 minutes drive from the shop.
Also in the stack of flyers to be distributed are some depicting Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, with the caption in Iban:
"Anang nganchurka masa depan anak kitai enggau jako parti penyakal. Pecaya meh BN deka mai Sarawak mansang dalam tempoh ti ka datai." (Don't gamble the future of our children by voting for the opposition. Believe in BN to help develop Sarawak in the near future).
2.30pm: Some 500 excited rural folk gather at Batang Lupar Agropolitan to welcome Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
Batang Lupar Agropolitan is a relocation plan in the Lingga state constituency, to which the villagers were instructed to relocate from Seduku island just across the Batang Lupar river as the island has been selected for development project.
Rural and Regional Development Minister Shafie Apdal and Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Rohani Karim were also present.
3.03pm: Sibu - DAP releases a short clip to the media which DAP alleges depicts suspected postal vote-tampering. It claims that the incident was recorded at the Wisma Sanyan where postal voters cast their ballots yesterday.
In the 1.32-second video clip, a man is said to have been recorded at around noon receiving postal votes from four female voters, before suddenly realising his actions were being recorded.
The man quickly returns the ballot to the voters and tried to stop the DAP polling agent monitoring the postal vote process.
DAP postal vote polling agent Mary Josephine Prittam Singh says the ballot papers should not be handed over to others, prompting her to believe vote-buying was occurring at Wisma Sanyan.
A police report will be lodged.
3pm: Piasau - The latest "I love Pek Mo" billboard set up by DAP this morning to satirise SUPP’s Piasau candidate George Chan and two other candidates, has sparked protests from Chinese-based ruling parties.
It was revealed by Johor DAP chief Boo Cheng Hau at a press conference before the billboard concerned that a SUPP lawyer - David Siaw - had sent two strongly-worded text messages to DAP’s election director.
According to one of the messages shown to Malaysiakini, the SUPP lawyer warned DAP to remove the billboard, or face legal action.
"Please take down the recent billboards that show our 3 candidates with CM (chief minister), you have no authority to use the photos of our candidates. Kindly be warned that we will sue for defamation for caricatures."
In another message, the text-sender warned that the BN component parties may take "tit-for-tat" action if the billboard was not removed.
“You may see your DAP candidates saying things in favour of the BN in those clandestine billboards, or perhaps worse innuendoes."
DAP, however, has refused to remove the billboards, claiming that they have not defamed anybody.
"Unless you say you don't love Pek Moh, then it will be a defamation," said Lim Sie Keong, the opponent for George Chan in Piasau.
5.30pm: Batang Lupar - DPM Muhyiddin arrives at Batang Lupar Agropolitan relocation area located in the constituency of Lingga to officiate this relocation project. He repeats his attack against PKR, calling it the "Parti Kian Runtuh" (Currently collapsing party).
"It is not Parti Keadilan (justice party) anymore because it is not just. All the leaders and pioneers who were once with Anwar Ibrahim have left the party. Consequently the party is only left with three persons - Anwar Ibrahim, (Dr) Wan Azizah (Wan Ismail) and their daughter Nurul Izzah," he told some 500 villagers from Kampung Seduku and the nearby town Lingga.
He also claims that the RM1 billion fund promised by Pakatan in its manifesto to eradicate poverty is the state is like "kacang putih" (too little).
"We have spent RM120 billion in just one year. So who should we vote for? Say it loud!” says Muhyiddin, to which the crowd responds ‘BN!”
“Like this, my mission is accomplished," he says laughing.
Muhyiddin also presents mock keys to several villagers who were given free houses under a government relocation plan. About 40 families were instructed by the state government to move from the Seduku island across the Batang Lupar into this relocation area due to development project on the island, famous for its crocodiles.
During the short ceremony, secretary of Batang Lupar PKR division Marshall Agong Kenneth Jupah submits his application form to Muhyiddin to join the BN. He claims some 300 PKR members will follow him.
5.36pm: Wong Ho Leng tweet: "RM1000 per vote in Meradong, RM500/vote in Pelawan n Bawang Assan. SUPP has not denied."
6.56pm: Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement president Haris Ibrahim is barred from entering Sarawak.
815pm: Sri Aman - More than 1,000 gather to hear a DAP ceramah DAP. DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang is scheduled to give the final speech.
8.17pm: Kuching - Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and wife attends a dinner with 800 people, mostly Chinese, from the Federation of Kuching Division Community Associations Sarawak. Also in attendance is the representative of the Chinese consulate.
8.20pm: Miri - DAP ceramah, featuring PKR’s Senadin candidate Michael Teo, has already attracted a crowd of about 4,000 people.
Tonight’s speakers include DAP state chief Wong Ho Leng, Penang deputy chief minister P Ramakrishnan, Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming, Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun, Kota Kinabalu MP Hiew King Cheu and Penang state exco Chow Kon Yeow.
8.30pm: Sri Aman - Several police officers arrive at the DAP ceramah after reports emerge that the crowd has spilled onto the main road, whereas the police permit issued for the event allows the function to occur only within the hall.
Negotiations are underway between the ceramah organisers and the police.
8.30pm: Sibu - A dinner is being held at the Kingwood Hotel to support incumbent BN-SUPP Pelawan candidate Vincent Goh Chung Siong. About 2,000 people are in attendance. The dinner is organised by Goh's friends.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Koh Tsu Koon brings up Islamic issue and his eighteen years’ experience as Penang chief minister.
8.30pm: Sri Aman - DAP holds its first open-air ceramah in this quiet town of Sri Aman, attracting a crowd of over 1,000, the biggest since nomination day. RM8,252 is raised from the crowd so far.
Tonight, DAP candidate for Kota Sentosa in Kuching, Chong Chieng Jen, comes to reinforce his comrade, Leon Donalad, the candidate for Simanggang. Simanggang is an Iban-majority rural seat that encompasses Sri Aman town.
Aiming to quell the 'development politics' of BN, he cites the examples of several infrastructures at Kuching construction of which were sped up after the opposition won in the constituency.
"The more you reject him (the ruling BN), the better he will treat you.
"So we must tell BN, we want the new hospital, (but) we also want to vote for DAP!" he cries, referring to the construction of new Sri Aman Hospital announced by Najib two days ago.
According to DAP Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi who is the emcee, the police have instructed the organisers to stop the ceramah. Sri Aman police had earlier told DAP that open-air ceramah are not allowed here.
However, Ooi only asks the crowd to move closer to the stage to avoid obstructing traffic.
The fiery ceramah continues with Klang MP Charles Santiago taking over the stage.
8.45pm: Kuching - A DAP ceramah at Jalan Merdu draws about 4,000 people, although more are still arriving. DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng is scheduled to speak later tonight.
DAP candidate for Padungan Wong King Wei says this state poll is the dirtiest ever election in Sarawak history. "The people must stay with us to counter this ‘dirtiest ever’ election," he says.
8.45pm: Miri - On the sidelines of a DAP ceramah, sone people are having the party’s rocket symbol sprayed on their hands.
845pm: Sri Aman - It starts to drizzle just as DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang starts his speech.
More than half of the 1,000-strong crowd who are without umbrellas are leaving the venue as they are without umbrellas, leaving only those with umbrellas to soldier on although Lim is still in the midst of his speech.
A party worker is holding an umbrella for Lim while he speaks on the allegedly corrupt 30 years of CM Taib’s rule.
Lim points out that the apparent bickering between Najib and Taib over the latter's departure plan shows that Najib has failed to show Taib the exit.
"If not for the MPs from Sabah and Sarawak, Najib would have become opposition leader in Parliament. That's why he dares not force Taib to step down."
9pm: Kuching - The president of the Federation of Kuching Division Community Associations Sim Sui Yong lauds the government for reducing land premiums, indicating the government is listening to the people.
"I would like to urge the community to vote wisely. Select the government which has a proven track record... (and) that has delivered on (its) promises," he said.
9pm: Pelawan - Despite the slight drizzle, the folk of Pelawan show up for a DAP ceramah in Jalan Sena, Sibu, armed with raincoats and umbrellas.
While some of them stand under umbrellas of all shapes and sizes, some of the 500 people present stand under the sheltered walkways near coffeeshops where the party held their ceramah.
Taking to the stage is DAP’s Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong who explains why Pakatan Rakyat promised an annual 'welfare assistance' of RM600 to senior citizens when those in Penang are currently receiving RM100 from the state government.
"We can afford to give the people so much because the Sarawak budget is six times more than Penang's. They get RM4.9 billion, when we only get RM800 million.
"Sarawak is losing millions from corruption and that's why they can't share money with the people," he said.
9.04pm: According to Lim Kit Siang’s Twitter, total public donations collected at Sri Aman ceramah has come up to RM8,252.30. “Another shocker 4Peh Moh n Najib”.
915pm: Pending - DAP candidate Pending Violet Yong takes a pot shot at SUPP and claims the party had called Sarawakians orang utan.
"They came to our party headquarters and protested this afternoon, but they carried some banners with 'Sarawakians are Orang Utan' words on it,
"We did not call Sarawakians but (we call) SUPP orang utan," she says.
DAP has been calling SUPP an orang utan party in its ceramah as the Sarawak Chinese-based party - which when pronounced by a Chinese sounds like ‘orang utan party - has failed to defend the Sarawak Chinese rights.
9.25pm: Kuching - PKR founding member Ng Lam Yong is speaking at Jalan Song in support of BN candidate for Batu Lintang Sih Hua Tong. He says that he left PKR because the party was too Anwar-centric and Anwar is a political chameleon.
Former MCA president Ong Tee Keat is waiting for his turn to speak.
9.20pm: Sibu - In a DAP ceramah here, Bukit Mertajam MP and party deputy- secretary-general and DAP wanita chief Chong Eng has the crowd of 500 laughing when she says she is also "pek moh" (white hair), pointing to her salt and pepper mane.
9.30PM: Sibu - Incumbent SUPP Bawang Assan candidate Wong Soon Koh arrives at Vincent Goh's dinner. Inspired by DAP's earlier statement that SUPP is an 'orang utan' party, Wong condemns Pakatan Rakyat for its superiority complex.
"This is how they feel about Sarawakians... orang utan," he lamented.
"SUPP is the real local party - why shoud we depend on the rocket party? We can take care of our own,"he said.
Wong also says he had sent people to record DAP's ceramah, and found DAP had failed to bring up new issues.
"Now, the wanted only overturn 'White Hair '.....but he will not fall, unless he resigns. Do not allow yourself to be misleaded by DAP,"he claimed, to applause from the crowd.
Later when approached by media and asked of his chance at Bawang Assan, he remained that he stands a good chance in winning.
On the alleged vote buying incident took place at Wisma Sanyan, Wong just laughs it off and says,"Yes, I agree, this is no good."
9.45pm: Pending - The crowd at DAP ceramah in Pending, Kuching has grown to about 5000 people. The atmosphere is hot as DAP candidate for Pending Violet Yong sings a song on stage.
The song is originally from Teresa Teng's "give me a kiss" but Yong has changed the lyric to "give me a vote can or not".
9.45pm: Kuching - Ng Lum Yong's speech is cut off because of an electricity failure. It has been five minutes and power has yet to be restored.
9.50pm: Kuching - The power, which had gone out earlier, comes back on. Ng is speaking again. "I'm not the pek moh who should resign," she said.
9.50pm: Sibu - DAP chairperson Karpal Singh arrives to a rousing welcome by the crowd, which has swelled to 1,000. Paralysed waist down since a car accident several years ago, the disabled veteran politician could not make it up to the 2-metre high stage.
Instead, he is hoisted up onto the back of a truck where he gives his speech in Malay.
"Kawan-kawan, bolehkah?" he asked. "Boleh!" exclaims the crowd.
Karpal is accompanied by his son and Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo.
9.50pm: Kuching - DAP Youth chief Anthony Loke, who has been leading the party’s Miri campaign team, tells the Kuching folks about the change in Miri.
He says the Miri folks are brave enough to turn out at DAP ceramahs and the donation collected there has broken the record for highest donation a few times.
"In one of the ceramah, we had more that 10,000 people with us and collected some RM20,000," he says, drawing a big laud applause from the crowd.
9.55pm Sibu - DAP chairperson Karpal Singh moves to assuage the Sibu Chinese voters in a ceramah in Pelawan of threats of an Islamic state.
"Islamic state ini tak boleh terima, kerana ada banyak orang Kristian, Buddha, Hindu atau Singh, macam saya. (The Islamic state cannot be accepted, because there are many Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Singhs like me)
"Mana boleh?" He said, to shouts by the crowd saying, "Tak boleh!"
"But we work with PAS. I tell them that we cannot have an Islamic state because DAP is a party with principles," he said.
He also reminds the people not to trust words by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
"Jangan ingat Najib itu boleh percaya. Dia 'kooi' (hokkien for ghost)," he said.
10pm: Sri Aman - Lim Kit Siang ends his speech by explaining the importance of April 16.
"If Sarawakians can deny BN's two-third majority, other states in peninsula would collapse in the next general election. Putrajaya may also change its master."
After the speech, he is immediately surrounded by dozens of public who have been waiting for him to autograph the Ubah plush toys they just bought.
10.20pm Miri - DAP ceramah crowds have increased to an overwhelming 10,000-plus people. DAP state chief Wong Ho Leng claims there are about 20,000. [WATCH VIDEO]
Under the lead of Wong, the crowds chants the need to together "Pull away white hair! No more worry!"
SUPP president George Chan is contesting Piasau seat in Miri town centre.
11.05pm: Sibu - Selangor speaker Teng Chang Khim draws in the laughs at a ceramah here with the message he sends out to the SUPP 'spies'.
"I heard that SUPP brought a lot of spies to the ceramah tonight.
"Good for us because we can brainwash them," he said.
SUPP candidate for Bawang assan Wong Soon Koh had previously dismissed the high attendance for DAP ceramah functions, saying that most of those who attended were spies and members sent by them.
Teng Chang Khim later cracks a modified old joke aimed at chief minister abdul taib mahmud.
"On Taib's 30 year anniversary, he wanted to make special commemorative stamp. He summoned and commissioned the postmaster-general to make them so he made 5,000 first to test market.
"The postmaster came back and said that the stamps were not sticking well.
"Taib asked why, and the postmaster said that it was because the people were spitting on the wrong side of the stamps," he said.
11.45pm Miri - At the end of DAP's ceramah, Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming, Sarawak DAP chief Wong Ho Leng and other DAP leaders lead the crowd to light candles as a symbol of the "light of hope" and sing two Chinese motivational songs "Small grass" and "I believe".
11:47pm: Kuching - Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng says that he may not be experienced in many things, but he knows how to fight corruption.
"Penang government is number one in fighting corruption. It's not (just) I (who) say (it), but Transparency International," he says in reference to the anti-graft body