Billboards with racial overtones pulled down in Sg Besar

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SUNGAI BESAR: The campaign for the Sungai Besar by-election, which entered its fourth day today, was tarnished by the appearance of several racial provocative billboards in Sekinchan town here.

The billboards incurred the wrath of Barisan Nasional (BN) supporters who had gathered at the area.

This followed a billboard printed with the picture of Prime Minister Najib Razak and PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang, as well as a picture of Sungai Besar Umno Division Head Jamal Md Yunus, which was accompanied by a provocative caption.

Several Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) supporters, who suddenly appeared at 4.45pm, took down two of the three boards. This was met with cheers and jeers from BN supporters.

However, they refused to remove another advertisement on the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which sparked off a shouting match between Sungai Besar MCA Division Head Kek Seng Hooi and Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, as well as former Selangor Exco from DAP, Ronnie Liu.

The board was later taken down by Election Commission (EC) staff, causing Liu to question the action.

Jamal made a surprise appearance at 5pm to inform reporters that he had lodged reports with police and the EC about the billboard fiasco.

“The act shows the Opposition is running out of issues and trying to raise racial issues.

“They have no more capital to attack Budiman, the BN candidate, so they had to resort to this dirty tactic. I am calling on voters not to be influenced by this provocation.”

In this regard, Jamal stressed he had never uttered the racial statement printed on the billboards.

Meanwhile, Amanah Communications Director Khalid Abdul Samad denied any involvement in the case, asserting neither the party nor any of its political allies had anything to do with the aforementioned billboards.

“No, we did not put up the billboards as we do not engage in this kind of mudslinging,” he told a press conference here today.

Meanwhile, responding to DAP Adviser Lim Kit Siang’s statement that its candidate, Azhar Abdul Shukur, had a slim chance of winning the by-election in Sungai Besar, Khalid said it was better to have a slim chance rather than having no chance at all.

“I think that having a slim chance is better than having no chance at all because I think we are improving.

“What (Lim) Kit Siang said was based on the feedback that he received from his interactions with the locals here.”

The by-election is a three-cornered contest involving Budiman Mohd Zohdi, who is the state assemblyman for Sungai Panjang, Meru State Assemblyman Dr Abdul Rani Osman of PAS and Azhar.

Meanwhile, police confirmed receiving a report on the billboards with racial and defamatory messages put up in Sekinchan here.

Sungai Besar by-election police media relations officer ACP Khalil Ariffin said police had directed that the billboards be taken down immediately to avoid any untoward incident.

“The report was made by a member of the public at the Sekinchan police station at about 4pm,” he told a press conference here today.

– BERNAMA