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Local newspapers have refused to run Barisan Alternatif's advertisements, said spokesperson Rustam Sani this afternoon. He said that the advertisements were made in response to "very serious charges against the BA -- that we are trying to create violence when in fact we are the victims."

Among the dailies that have rejected the request for the placement of the BA advertisements was The Star newspaper, said Sheryll Stothard, vice-president of Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM).

"The Star turned me down when I said the advertisements were for Barisan Alternatif," she said.

Leaders of BA have been angered by the barrage of print advertisements commissioned by the Barisan Nasional in the past two days.

These advertisements which appeared in all major dailies depicting scenes of violence under the headings "Don't Let Hatred Win", "Don't Let Violence Triumph", "Don't Let Anarchy Rule", "No To Violence" and "Don't Let Mob Rule Lead Us" followed by the tagline "Vote for Peace and Stability. Vote Barisan Nasional".

"The BN advertisements have the appearance of a campaign in poor taste," said Rustam.

Now that the BA was unable to get advertising space from the newspapers, he said the coalition will now concentrate in getting their message across to voters by going from house to house.

According to Vice President of Parti Keadilan Nasional Chua Tian Chang (popularly known as Tian Chua), who was beaten by the police on a number of occasions, Malaysians are today being tormented by threats of violence and communal conflict.

He said that the general election is not about choosing between racial riots and a multiracial community, but rather whether the people still want the Internal Security Act and whether they want to limit the prime minister's term of office to two terms.

"The main issue (in this election) is not about violence," said Chua. Both the BN and BA have presented their manifestoes and it is now up to voters to choose, he said.

Yesterday, the BA issued a challenge to caretaker prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and his BN coalition to make a solemn pledge of non-violence in front of the Agong that both sides would not resort to violence during the election campaign.

"There has been no response to our challenge," said Rustam. Asked whether the BA would unilaterally make the pledge, he said that the coalition cannot be granted an audience with the Agong without the permission of the Prime Minister's Office.