Bus attacks reflect tension over Anwar’s Johor tour
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 — Another attack on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s tour of Johor, this time with nails and stones last night, points to rising tension in Johor, the Barisan Nasional (BN) bastion where Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is making some inroads ahead of the general election.
Media reports say nails were sprayed on the road leading to the venue of a 800-table dinner in Skudai last night while one car in the entourage was dented and scratched in the stone attack. No one was hurt in the attacks.
Anwar and his PKR colleagues are leading the Jelajah Merdeka Rakyat tour ahead of Malaysia Day tomorrow and were on a one-day tour of Johor in a double-decker campaign bus, meeting party supporters and people in Tangkak, Muar, Batu Pahat and Skudai. They have since left for Sabah today.
The PKR double-decker campaign bus was splashed with red paint again, for the third time, outside a mosque in Tangkak at the start of the Johor tour. It was reported that two men on a motorcycle hurled the paint.
Ledang district police chief Supt Harun Idris, when contacted, confirmed receiving a report on the incident at about 3.05pm, Bernama reported.
He said police were identifying the two men concerned and based on initial investigation, the registration number on the motorcycle used was false.
The attacks come amidst police investigations into an incident where one of Anwar’s bodyguards had flashed his gun to a group of men in Kampung Baru Rim, Jasin, last Saturday. Video clippings of the incident later surfaced on the Internet.
Anwar had said the issue of his gun-flashing bodyguard has pre-empted the other issue of a PKR bus being stopped on that day.
“Why must this issue override the fact that the bus was stopped and attacked? This shows that the people’s welfare and security are of no concern,” he told reporters two days ago.
PKR has also taken umbrage over Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s refusal to guarantee the safety of Anwar and his colleagues.
“No need for guarantees. It is decided by the people of Johor themselves. I think PKR knows this and can judge for itself from what is happening there,” he was reported as saying.
Hishammuddin is from Johor, the birthplace of Umno and seen as BN’s political fortress in the coming polls which must be held by middle of 2013.
But a poor showing by neighbouring Singapore’s ruling PAP party in the last general election has raised speculation that it could affect the mood of Johor’s electorate and push them to vote for PR.
The three parties in PR — the DAP, PAS and PKR — made history in Election 2008 when they won four more states apart from Kelantan and denied BN its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority.