The Terengganu race was especially disturbing for the Barisan because the government poured billions into development funds and other goodies in the seaside town, set in the traditional Malay heartland on the East Coast. A special trust fund to manage the state’s oil royalty with starting capital of RM10 billion was established and RM408 million was paid as the state’s oil royalty. Then was a controversial “lucky draw”, in which about 600 government contracts worth RM30,000 to RM 200,000 (US$8,400-US$56,000) each were dished out to local contractors in a ceremony personally presided over by Najib. Just before the election, the government also announced in an unprecedented move that it would provide RM50 million in direct funding to the boards of directors of Chinese schools.
So what happens when money stops talking? This is probably the Barisan’s biggest worry. Pork-barrel politics is the coalition’s mainstay. Over the years, the coalition has held onto power with its politics of development – a new school building, town hall, playground, mosque or some infrastructure. Helping them along are allowances from the Welfare Department processed on the spot during elections by simply matching Malaysian identity cards to the electoral rolls.
“All’s not well with BN. The slide continues. BN should count its blessings for not losing by a bigger majority,” political analyst Khoo Kay Peng wrote in his blog after the results were announced. “…It should have been a bigger majority for PAS.”
Barisan Nasional’s pork-barrel politics fail to win Kuala Terengganu