Malaysia Votes 2018

Malaysia election: Najib banks on ground influencers to sway the vote

Prime Minister Najib Razak at a rally in Gombak Setia, Kuala Lumpur, last Tuesday. In his campaign appearances, he has focused on reaching out to the party machinery, community leaders and captains of industry.
Prime Minister Najib Razak at a rally in Gombak Setia, Kuala Lumpur, last Tuesday. In his campaign appearances, he has focused on reaching out to the party machinery, community leaders and captains of industry.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Across the country over the past week, Malaysians have flocked to rallies held by the three main parties. Our correspondents report.

A row of plastic bags labelled "sumber kekayaan baru" - new source of wealth - with a picture of a smiling durian showing two thumbs up, are ready and waiting before Prime Minister Najib Razak's arrival on Friday at Telaga Walk, a new food court catering to the steady stream of tourists who visit Langkawi's Cenang beach.

Although it was billed as a "walkabout", the Barisan Nasional (BN) chief's campaign stop before a night rally was carefully planned. Despite the presence of his usual phalanx of security detail - who have in the past shoved over-enthusiastic well-wishers aside - a group of Muslims managed to break through to say a prayer for him on the spot, declaring it was "to ensure victory for BN".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 06, 2018, with the headline 'Parties rally the voters: Najib banks on ground influencers to sway the vote'. Print Edition | Subscribe