Saturday, February 16, 2008

Malaysia’s election contest kicks into new gear with promises of fuel price cuts, jobs

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysian politicians began unofficially campaigning for general elections, with an opposition party vowing Friday to slash fuel prices and the government wooing rural voters with promises of jobs.

Election campaigning will officially start Feb. 24, but many politicians are wasting no time after the Election Commission announced Thursday that elections would be held March 8.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak visited northeastern Kelantan, the only one of Malaysia's 13 states ruled by the opposition, and pledged big improvements if the National Front coalition wrests control of Kelantan from the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party.

"If the National Front is given the mandate, the people of Kelantan would not have to migrate to other states in search of jobs, as is the case now," the national news agency Bernama quoted Najib as saying in a speech to more than 3,000 people.

The Islamic Party has led Kelantan since 1990, but federal government officials say the predominantly rural state seems ripe for change. Kelantan's poverty rate of 10.6 percent in 2004 was nearly double the national figure, according to government statistics.

Economic issues are a core focus for both the government and its political rivals. Over... [here's the AP report]

Feb 17, 2008: Rawat Umno dulu - Mursyidul Am PAS, Menteri Besar Kelantan, Tuan Guru Dato' Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat menyarankan Umno dan BN supaya merawat diri sendiri dan tidak perlu merawat Kelantan, kerana di sana sudah ada doktor dan hospital tersendiri dan rakyat Kelantan sihat belaka.

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