PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli addresses the crowd during a rally at Taman Muda in Ampang, November 10, 2022. — Picture by Kenneth Tee
AMPANG, Nov 10 — Noting Barisan Nasional’s lower profile this year compared to previous general elections, PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli suggested this could be because the coalition was short on funds for campaigning.
Stumping at Taman Muda here, the Pakatan Harapan candidate for Pandan said he observed that the coalition has put up less campaign material for the 15th general election race that was now in its sixth day.
“Usually, they have huge campaigns due to a bigger budget, but now their chief financial officer is currently on leave in Kajang,” he said to laughter from the crowd.
While he did not name anyone, Rafizi was likely referring to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence after the Federal Court upheld his conviction and guilt of misappropriating funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd, amounting to RM42 million.
The former BN chairman previously claimed that the billions of ringgit in suspected 1MDB funds deposited into his personal accounts were, among others, political donations to support the coalition remain in power.
Rafizi said observers would not be able to tell from the amount of BN campaign material, that it had been Malaysia’s only ever government until 2018, when it lost to PH.
“Even the BN big shots are remaining at their respective contesting constituency because they are afraid of losing,” he said, adding that only PH leaders are seen stumping for multiple contesting candidates.
Earlier, torrential downpour did not stop people from turning up in their raincoats and umbrellas to the three-hour long ceramah, which featured several speakers including PH’s Ampang candidate Rodziah Ismail and Pandan Indah assemblyman Izham Hashim.
Slated to start at 7pm, the ceramah was delayed for over an hour due to the rain that started shortly after dusk.
With the downpour unabating, many had to resort to standing or sitting in the rain with their umbrellas as the seats under a makeshift tent set up in the middle of a basketball court for the ceramah were fully taken.
It was only after two hours later, the rain finally stopped, though a sizeable crowd of some 100 people had built up from those who turned up for the ceramah from adjacent neighbourhoods and even outside of Pandan.
Reminiscent of his first official day of campaigning, Rafizi’s appearance elicited loud cheers from those present, suggesting that some of the unwavering support that helped Pakatan Harapan and him get elected still remained intact.
Aside from Parti Warisan’s Tan Sri Ong Tee Keat, Rafizi will face also face Gerakan Tanah Air’s Nadia Hanafiah (Parti Pejuang Tanah Air), Barisan Nasional’s Datuk Leong Kok Wee (MCA) and Perikatan Nasional’s Muhammad Rafique Zubir Albakri (PAS).
In 2013, Rafizi won against Gary Lim Chin Yee — the candidate who replaced Ong — in a three-cornered fight with a 26,729-vote majority.
After he was forced to sit out the 2018 general election, PKR sent in Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail who doubled the party’s majority in a five-cornered fight, beating Leong by a 52,543 majority.