JOHOR BARU: Umno delegates are much sought-after as aspiring Umno election candidates flood them with hundreds of SMSes, dinner invitations, tags on Facebook and cards.
Johor Baru Umno committee member Faridah Mustafa said that all sorts of methods were employed by the candidates to reach out to the voters.
“Dinners are held almost nightly since the nomination day and the frequency has increased in the last few days,” she said.
Faridah, who has been an Umno member for more than 30 years, however, said that the last-minute “parties” were not a good way to campaign.
“Old timers like me know who has been working hard. These dinners and outings will not persuade us,” she said.
Tebrau Umno member Omar Ponijan said that apart from the endless “makan-makan” (eating out) invites, he had also received countless SMSes, post cards and tags on Facebook.
“I have even heard of a local businessman candidate who is giving a discount to customers who are mostly delegates during this campaign period,” he said.
In Alor Setar, Kuala Kedah Umno division chairman Datuk Abdul Mutalib Harun said the campaigning this time around was more open and friendly.
“It was not as hot as in the previous party elections, partly due to the large number of delegates.
“The candidates are meeting the delegates openly. There is no room to hold a secret meeting,” he added.
Taman Seri Indah Umno branch Puteri chief Nur Seha Mohd Khadir concurred, adding that everything was conducted in a clean manner without any personal attack on others.
A delegate from Kampung Tong Brok branch in Pendang, Epein Seng Tiew, said the candidates’ representatives had been going around handing out cards with the name and candidacy number.
In George Town, Bukit Gelugor division deputy chairman Abu Bakar Ahmad said he had received between 50 and 60 SMSes urging him to vote certain candidates.
“I, however, have not received any calls from the contestants. That’s not possible as there are just too many delegates now,” he said.
Another delegate, Ruslan Kassim, who is from Tanjung Umno, said the delegates learned more about the candidates through text messages and social media.
All the six vice-presidential candidates have visited Penang to meet with the delegates.
Penang Umno secretary Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir said all the supreme council candidates were welcomed with open arms to the state.
“Divisions have been told to adopt an open-door policy and to allow all the candidates to campaign freely here,” he said.