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Feb 23, 2008

Pas' “street demonstration” promise gets attention of Umno's Utusan


The unveiling of BN candidates took centrestage on Thursday, 21 February, with 46 per cent of the total news items on election. This was in sharp contrast to less than 9 per cent of news on opposition parties candidates. Instead, opposition parties got an additional 12 per cent of news items portraying how incapable they are. The bulk of these items continued from yesterday's tirade against Pas' favourable stand on public assembly and its promise for a welfare state.

Apart from the candidacy news, the good news from the BN perspective was that of state-owned Bank Rakyat announcing a dividend payout of 20 per cent, the highest in nine years, on the front page. It was juxtaposed with a report on Pas conceding difficulty in realising a welfare state ('Pas akui tidak mampu wujudkan negara kebajikan'), which was teased further in the regular frontpage cartoon, Senyum Kambing.

More attacks on Pas specifically were found in two reports on responses from BN officials against permitting “demonstrasi jalanan”. The paper also continued to criticise PKR with a second interview with a former PKR member, Ruslan Kassim. The interview was headlined 'Pembangkang tidak mampu kalahkan BN'. In figures, there were 14, or 34 per cent of news items about the opposition, of which five were critical, out of the total 41 news items on the election.

Where the promises of the opposition were reported, they were quickly countered with a BN warning. This happened on page 8 with two reports on opposition candidates promising to spend their salary and allowances on the people if they won. Stacked on top of the reports was a picture of a BN leader and his quote: “Kita tidak mahu masa depan rakyat diperjudikan akibat termakan pujuk rayu pembangkang.”

In the editorial page, 40 per cent of a total of ten articles were critical of Pas. Pas' brand of a welfare state was again severely criticised in a 30-para column in the editorial page: 'Pas ajak ke belakang.' In another article, readers were also asked to treat the promises of opposition as a form of entertainment- 'Hiburan pilihanraya'. For the remaining six articles, three were on BN candidacy, one on how the BN should capture the state of Terengganu, and one on the successes of a BN's agency, the Welfare Department.

The wrath against Pas' stand on assemblies did not spare the letters' section. Two out of six letters were given prominence in headlines and put at the top centre of the page.


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