Normala Sudirman is taking heavy hits with MCA calling her a 'snob'.
While Normala and his Barisan Nasional (BN) counterpart, Umno’s Azahar Ibrahim, were busy filing their candidacy papers, Pakatan leaders took the opportunity to deflect the accusation before some 3,000 supporters who had accompanied the PAS candidate to the nomination centre.
MCA has been playing up the allegation that Normala “despises” non-Muslims because she wears gloves to greet non-Muslim voters.
MCA leaders have also played up her refusal to shake the hands of male voters, a bid seemingly aimed at scaring the Chinese voters by portraying PAS as extremists.
PKR Youth leader Bardrul Hisham Shaharin, speaking before the crowd, said the allegations were not new and that MCA leaders have employed similar tactics in the past.
“This is what happens when MCA are friends with Umno for too long; they harp on petty politics. This is not true,” he said.
He pointed out that similar allegations had been made against PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in the past.
“They used to say the same about her. She wears gloves and they said this is because she is arrogant… what is this? This is ridiculous,” he said.
The Chinese form 39% of the 14,753 registered Tenang voters, a sizeable and decisive chunk, which explains the avid efforts to win their votes.
It is understood that BN is seeking a victory with a majority of at least 5,000 votes before calling for early general election.
The late Sulaiman Taha retained the Tenang state seat in the last general election after he defeated PAS’s Mohd Saim Siran by a majority of 2,492 votes.
The majority was almost half of what he had attained in the 2004 election. He had won with a majority of more than 5,000 then.
Decrease in the majority was attributed to the swing in Chinese votes. This is despite the fact that Tenang, which falls under the Labis consituency, is known to be MCA’s stronghold.
Labis was once helmed by current MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek before his son Chua Tee Yong took over.
Both Normala and Azahar are locals, a factor both parties know can influence the outcome of the Tenang vote, the country’s 14th by-election since the 2008 general election.
Both are also civil servants, one of the two main professions for the Malays in Tenang. The latter was a teacher and Azahar a former assistant district officer.
Tenang voters will cast their votes on Jan 30. Campaigning begins today.