The battle for the Permatang Pauh seat has only begun yesterday, nomination day, but the tone of the campaign has already taken sexual overtones.
It appears that BN does not want voters to forget the sexual allegations nor the sodomy conviction which has put the former Permatang Pauh MP Anwar Ibrahim behind bars for the second time.
Anwar is serving a five-year jail term for that offence, and has lost his seat, paving the way for a by-election, when his family failed to obtain a pardon and his early release from the Agong.
At a BN youth event yesterday, Umno vice-president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi started of by telling supporters “don’t backstab your friends”.
“We do not play backside, okay. If you are courageous, confront us, do not just slander us or say all kinds of things in your Facebook account,” he said.
“Don’t undermine the good names of your friends, there is no such thing as people being sponsored with RM300,000 cash,” he added.
It is not clear who Zahid was referring to but it seems he was trying to address allegations of money politics by BN often heard during by-election campaigns.
The audience seemed to find such remarks hilarious.
They were in stitches when Zahid introduced the tall and lanky Penang Umno liaison chief Zainal Abidin Osman ( left ) using his nickname 'Panjang (long)'.
“He is indeed long but I do not know if other parts of him are long or not,” he joked.
Zahid also gave young BN female party workers and members - Puteri BN and Umno - some tips on handling sexual harassment from their rivals or opponents when they are campaigning on the ground.
“If they unzip in front of you, do not run as that is they are provoking you. If they unzip their trousers, just take off your shoes and whack the person, do not be afraid,” he added, to much laughter.
Shahrizat: Zahid has 'balls'
Zahid was reminding his party princesses of an incident which happened at the Anak Bukit (in Kedah) by-elections in 2002, where a man allegedly exposed himself to a Puteri Umno member.
The home minister’s style of politics, especially with the women folk, has impressed even BN and Umno Wanita chief Sharizat Abdul Jalil.
She described Zahid as “courageous and daring, respectful of women” while having the “balls” to be home minister.
But she reminded Zahid that without women’s support, he cannot get where he is today.
She recalled that Zahid obtained the highest vote while retaining his post as Umno vice-president in the last party elections.
“Without the support of Wanita, how can you get the top spot in the Umno elections?” she asked at a BN Wanita elections machinery event on Friday, where Zahid was on the same stage.
“We love Zahid because he also loves and respects us,” she said.
Sharizat ( right ) noted that not any Tom, Dick and Harry could assume the post of the powerful home minister.
“If one is a coward, no need lah (to become home minister). If you don’t have er…er…er… you understand? You do not need to take up the post,” she added, drawing laughter from the 2,000 supporters who congregated at a hall at the Seberang Perai Polytechnic in Bukit Mertajam.
“How to take care of us when your thing is “errrr”,” she said, implying the word “soft”.
“But thank God, he is tough and 'hard', and we women commend him for this,” she added.
When Zahid “disappeared” for a while to go to the loo before he addressed the female members, Sharizat joked “he has to go to the loo… men they only look like heroes but when you sit in front of 2,000 women, doesn’t your err…err… becomes flaccid ( kecut )”.
The Permatang Pauh polls will be on May 7, while early voting is fixed on May 3.