By ANDREA FILMER
BUTTERWORTH: Aug 18, 2008
Day Two of campaigning kicked off with top guns from Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat and their supporters weaving through the kampung roads of Permatang Pauh.
Realising there was no time to waste during the 10-day campaigning period, the candidates met voters at every nook and corner in the constituency, attending ceramah late into the night.
Congested roads and the presence of traffic police lining several roads in Seberang Jaya heralded the arrival of Barisan candidate Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah’s most powerful allies – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Abdullah met 70-year-old Ustaz Mat Saad @ Abu Bakar Endot Bakar, a regular visitor to Abdullah’s Hari Raya open house since the 1970s, in Kampung Semambu along Jalan Tanah Liat. He spent about 20 minutes at his house before heading to the Safira Club in Seberang Jaya where he met Malay and Chinese leaders.
Najib checked out problems affecting villagers in Kampung Permatang Rawa, met the people at Permatang Janggus before visiting the Puteri Umno operations centre in Tanah Liat.
The MCA and DAP election machineries were also seen on the ground in Berapit, Permatang Pasir and Kampung Belah Dua, aiding in the Umno and PKR campaign rounds and handing out leaflets.
PKR de facto leader and by-election candidate Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim attended three functions one after another barely four hours after a strenuous nomination process at the Tuanku Bainun Teachers Training College.
He wooed the Indian and Chinese communities in Kampung Bagan Seria and Sungai Lembu and, later, took time off to watch the Beijing Olympics badminton men's singles final at a stall in Jalan Tenggiri in Seberang Jaya.
Former PKR youth chief Mohamed Ezam Mohd Nor, who rejoined Umno last June, addressed the crowd in his charismatic style, challenging his former boss on personal and political issues at a ceramah held not far from the party division headquarters.
More flags sprang up in many places during the night and residents woke up yesterday to a carnival-like atmosphere.
Both Anwar and Arif Shah also took time to celebrate the nuptials of a number of Permatang Pauh residents, delighting the guests who managed to meet the famous faces.
While the battle for time and votes raged in the normally laid-back town in Seberang Prai, the rarely-remembered third parliamentary candidate, Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia president Hanafi Hamat, went on his scheduled house-to-house campaign in Seberang Jaya.