The five full-page advertisements, under the headings "Donít Let Hatred Win", "Donít Let Violence Triumphí, "Donít Let Anarchy Rule", "No To Violence", "Donít Let Mob Rule Lead Us", are the most incendiary, inflammatory and irresponsible political advertisements that have ever appeared in the past 10 general elections in 42 years.
Mahathir is being proved right in his forecast that the 10th general election is going to be the dirtiest election in the nationís history. In fact, even at the start of the election campaign, the present election already qualifies to be the dirtiest elelction in the nationís history - with the disenfranchisement of 680,000 new voters, the snap eight-day election campaign period and now the most inflammatory and incendiary political advertisements to create an atmosphere of fear and insecurity to prevent the voters from casting their vote in a free and fair election.
In the past six elections, the Barisan Nasional had always resorted to the politics of fear, intimidation and blackmail by raising the spectre of May 13 racial riots to try to scare the voters from voting for the Opposition
There was only one election, however, when the Barisan Nasional took a full-page advertisement to try to create fear among the electorate. Two days before the 1990 general election, the Barisan Nasional and UMNO took out a full-page advertisement in the Utusan Malaysia and the next day in Nanyang Siang Pao.
In the Utusan Malaysia, the advertisement was under the heading "Sokong Membawa Rebah" while in Nanyang Siang Pao it was under the heading "Recollection of History", but both carried the same picture depicting bloodshed, violence, arson and carnage.
The visual impact of the picture is manyfold greater than the wordings under the picture, which immediately conveyed the message that if the Barisan Nasional and UMNO should lose in the general election on Oct. 21, 1990, there would be another May 13 of bloodshed, violence, arson and carnage.
Although the picture of violence depicts the battle of Malacca between the Portuguese fleet and Malays, its intent was very clear, for it wanted to cast Semangat 46 as traitors to the Malay race like those responsible for the fall of the Malacca Malay Empire, while the Malaysian Chinese were cast in the role of the Portuguese of that period.
The wording used in the Utusan Malaysia was modified and altered so that the same picture of bloodshed, violence, arson and carnage served the purpose of sending different messages to different communities who read the two newspapers, but with one common conclusion - that of impending violence.
I said in Parliament after the 1990 general election that I could not think of an advertisement which was more racist and inflammatory in its imagery and visual impact in the history of Malaysian election.
Now, the Barisan Nasional in its present election campaign has exceeded its inflammatory propaganda in 1990 with the five full-page advertisements not just in Utusan Malaysia and Nanyang Siang Pao, but in all the different-language local newspapers.
After further study of these five Barisan Nasional full-page advertisements, the DAP has decided to lodge further police reports because they have also transgressed other laws of the land such as the Penal Code and the Sedition Act for criminal defamation and sedition offences.
The Barisan Nasional advertisements are suggesting that the DAP leaders are mobsters, advocate violence and want anarchy, and these are highly seditious as well as criminal defamation, which are criminal offences.
It is most disturbing that while in the past, the May 13 spectre is invoked only in the last few days, this time, the politics of fear, intimidation and blackmail appears to be the centrepiece of the Barisan Nasional campaign to retain its two-thirds parliamentary majority. On the very first day of the campaign, all these five blood-curdling advertisements are already splashed in all the different-language newspapers.