According to Bernama today, the MCA and MIC, the two largest Barisan Naional (BN) component parties representing the Chinese and Indians, have stepped up their defence as well as attacks on claims that they have let down their communities.
"While the opposition put on a show, MCA worked," said an MCA advertisement in an Englih daily today while MIC's stressed that voting for the opposition is equivalent to a "vote for sweet talk".
Transparency International (Malaysia) (TI-Malaysia) said the media ads to woo voters had increase in the past few days, and the Barisan Nasional (BN) was estimated to have spent over RM1.049 million.
MCA has taken out ads in newspapers and televisions in the run-up to the March 8 general election, emphasising its "behind-the-scene" efforts to help the Chinese community.
The party said 2,300 non-Bumiputera students obtained full Public Service Department (JPA) scholarships to study overseas between 2000 and 2007, a marked increase compared with only 100 students before 2000.
"An increase of 2,200 percent in JPA scholarship funds amounting to more than RM1 billion," the party said, stressing its motto of "Working quietly, effectively for results".
In the ad, MCA said it was just one of the many areas the party has been working hard and would continue to do so for the future of all Malaysians in business, education, socio-cultural areas and women's welfare.
The opposition, in the election campaigning, accused both MCA and MIC of not fighting for the rights of the non-bumiputeras.
MCA's move was emulated by the MIC which has been besieged lately by supporters of the unregistered Hindraf who claimed that the party has not done much to help the Indian community.
"Every Indian who has benefited directly or indirectly from MIC is a silent majority and a silent supporter who has assisted MIC to rise and evolve to where it is today. Can anyone come up and say that MIC is irrelevant or redundant," said the ad.
The ad said if the Indian community did not vote for MIC, they would deprive their children the right to preserve and uphold Tamil, Hinduism and the right to seek education.
"Vote for PAS and see where Kelantan is today. That's how your constituency will be for the next five years, If you think that you are not progressing under MIC, then you can now imagine getting disintegrated under PAS," the ad said.
Besides monitoring political parties' print media ad expenditures in 18 newspapers daily, TI-Malaysia said in a statement today that it has started to monitor the television ads today.
It said under the Election Offences Act 1954 parliamentary candidates were allowed to spend up to RM200,000 and state seat contenders RM100,000. BN candidates can collectively spend up to only RM94.8 million, it said.
Of this, 1.11 percent had been spent on print media ads thus far, TI-Malaysia said, adding that candidates from Parti Keadilan Rakyat, DAP and PAS had not taken up any ads so far. "This is the first time that campaign expenses are being monitored. This is a new addition to election process and media monitoring that was started from previous elections and is being performed now," it said.
I'll tell you one thing -- RTM channels are effective platforms and vehicles in the BN's election campaign.
All you liberals and hip Malaysians out there who have been laughing and mocking at RTM for being so fuddy-duddy and old-fashioned and archaic etc etc...well, eat your heart out now.
RTM is the BN's most powerful weapon in where it matters -- the rural heartland.
By the way, the BN's tagline in its ubiquitous media ad is " Vote for Malaysia. Vote for Barisan Nasional".
I hear it all the time in the radio while I'm driving my car. It's also on TV.
However....these MIC and MCA ads...a bit over the top, maybe?