For the first time ever, I followed Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein's a-day visit to Merlimau today. He was a 'darling' to almost everyone whom he met and shook hands with. The ministry's 'Meeting the Customers' Day' was ovewhelmed by about 2,000 Rela members and BN party workers for the by-election.
Chief Minister Ali Rustam was there together with Hisham's deputy Abu Seman, few state assemblymen and leaders of BN component parties.
I personally believe Hisham is getting better in the sense that he is more considerate and willing to listen to others, including those who serve him at the ministry. And thanks to him for extending the 'pay your police summons' until March 10.
His presence drew much attention, notably from the Merlimau people who met him eye-to-eye for the first time. He even visited a disabled policeman outside his fixed programmes at his house, spent about 20 minutes and help painted its wall.
I personally would like to see Hisham attending to the rakyat more often, consider advises given by his buddies at the ministry... and of course by bloggers and media. Also, more Umno and BN leaders should spend more time outside their busy daily routine to meet the people, including those not in their constituency.
What Hisham did in the day brought positive impact to the party and the voters. The Opposition did not try to disrupt the event like what happened in a few previous by-elections, especially Bukit Gantang, Manek Urai and Galas. In fact, some Opposition supporters were seen trying to come closer to the event center but were 'too shy' to enter.
Even in his speech, Hisham did not launch any strong attacks on the Opposition. Instead, he only said they (Pakatan Rakyat) was becoming weak, especially in Merlimau. I have to agree.
Generally, the Opposition in Merlimau are not going all out as they dont have much confidence in winning the seat on March 6 polling. The attention given by some Federal ministers is a sign that the government really cares for the well-being of the rakyat.
The feedback I got also does not favor the Opposition thus far. Their campaigns failed to attract audience as compared to the ones by BN. The general perception in Merlimau is that, Pas is contesting for the sake of participating in the by-election.