The battle for Melaka begins

MELAKA: Political bigwigs here are waging a “shadow war” as they attempt to woo the electorate ahead of nominations for the state polls on Nov 8.

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his arch-rival Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is the Perikatan Nasional chairman, were on a tight schedule here yesterday.

Najib started his rounds at 11am and visited the iconic Klebang night market.

Muhyiddin started at 10.45am by visiting the hawker centre at Masjid Tanah and ended his tour at 10pm.

He also chaired a meeting with the state Perikatan machinery at Tanjung Minyak.

Najib maintained he was in Melaka “as a tourist.”

He said he was obliged to make a visit following an invitation by Tangga Batu Umno chief Datuk Seri Mohamad Ali Mohamad.

“I came to meet old friends (at Pantai Kundor and Tanjung Kling) and it’s not considered campaigning,” he said after visiting the Kampung Hailam fishermen’s jetty.

Last week, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin announced a ban on election-related gatherings for the Melaka election.

The Election Commission will be announcing the standard operating procedure soon for the state election fixed for Nov 20.

Meanwhile, caretaker chief minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali has ordered a ban on “hate campaigning” when his team goes digital to woo voters.

The Lendu assemblyman has instructed his officials not to sling mud at Opposition leaders or demean the four assemblymen who caused the state government to collapse on Oct 4.

“I believe there is someone above us who will judge us and I don’t need to attack anyone or resort to name-calling.

“Winning or losing is part of an election and this doesn’t mean we have to destroy rivals in the hearts and minds of the people,” he said in an interview.

The Melaka election has turned somewhat virulent with both sides of the political divide resorting to mudslinging, name-calling and insults.

Sulaiman shared that he had refrained from attacking the four assemblymen who defected from his state government, even on social media.

“Voters appreciate and understand what the previous administration has done despite going through a difficult time due to the impact of Covid-19.

“We don’t need to form a negative opinion on our rivals just to be popular, otherwise the attack could boomerang,” he said.

The polls were triggered following the dissolution of the Melaka state assembly after Sungai Udang assemblyman Datuk Seri Idris Haron and three other assemblymen withdrew their support for Sulaiman.

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