GEORGE TOWN, April 13 – The increasing number of 1Malaysia free dinners and lucky draws has got the Penang DAP hot under the collar and it wants the Election Commission (EC) to investigate the matter as the polls draw near.
Penang DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow said these events are done under the guise of charity.
“We want the EC to investigate this kind of money politics that Barisan Nasional (BN) is using to win voters,” he said.
Since early March, free dinner events from sit-down eight course dinners to hawker feasts, were held several times a week at various residential areas in Penang.
As May 5 polls draw near, the number of events increased to every other day and on every weekend.
Each time, these events are held at existing hawker centres and sometimes, lavish sit-down dinners were held.
At many of these events, the backdrop of the stage would have the name of the BN coordinator of the area.
All of these events were organised by 1Malaysia Welfare Club, a newly formed club that had recently donated RM2.2million to 106 non-governmental organisations in the state.
The club president Geh Choh Hun has since denied the that the club was linked to any political party.
He had also clarified that these dinners were mostly “charity dinners”.
Last night, another big dinner was held at the Mount Erskine market site where thousands thronged the place from as early as 7pm.
The narrow road leading to the area, located on a small hill and flanked by cemeteries, was also choked with traffic.
The crowd formed long lines at the variety of food available that includes local hawker fare of char koay teow, ice kacang, hokkien mee and even free flow of beer.
There was even a counter giving out lucky draw coupons where participants must register using their Mykad.
The participants were each given a blue t-shirt with 1Malaysia logos and told to wear it to increase their chances of winning the lucky draw if they were spotted wearing the t-shirt.
All participants were also handed ang paus that contained several lottery tickets.
Chow had urged the public not to succumb to this kind of vote-buying tactics. However, many of those who attended these events were not so easily bought over.
Some families even took the trouble to find out the location and date of the next event so that they could go for the free meal.
One of them, Jacinta Lim, said it’s free so she and her family will drive to the next free dinner so that she don’t have to cook dinner.
When asked if she knows who organised the event, she replied it does not matter.
“They treat, we eat, they give, we take, why bother about who’s doing this?” she said.
Another resident who attended the event, Arnold Andrews, said there was not even enough food at these kind of events due to the massive turnout.
“Coming here to eat doesn’t mean I will support them because I will still vote for DAP no matter what,” he said, when asked if this kind of free dinners and lucky draws will put BN in his good books.
Earlier today, DAP national chairman Karpal Singh had also scoffed at these events.
“They want to organise, let them do it, I’m sure Penang voters will not be so easily fooled by this anymore,” he said.