ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
Political temperature cooling off in Malaysia with Euros
Publication Date : 25-06-2012
The Euro 2012 tournament is helping to cool general election fever in football-crazy Malaysia.
The National Unity and Integration Department said it expected to see a reduction in the number of protests and other politically-charged incidents until the month-long competition ends on July 1.
“Incidents can happen any time, but their numbers will go down when there are major events such as Euro 2012 because many people will be too sleepy from watching late night games,” department director-general Azman Amin Hassan said.
Azman said the fasting month, which is expected to start on July 20, would also help to keep temperatures low in the preparation for the 13th general election speculated to be held in September.
“Muslims will focus on the fasting month, which will be followed by Hari Raya Aidilfitri, when there will be lots of celebrations.
“That will also help to reduce the political temperature,” said Azman.
The tournament is also forcing Barisan Nasional and Opposition politicians to work harder to compete for the attention of football fans.
Politicians going all out to woo support ahead of general election had to end their evening ceramah earlier to allow fans to catch the midnight matches in the earlier stage of the tournament.
“I am not very keen on football but I am forcing myself to become a fan because Euro 2012 has a big influence on our political activities,” said Malacca’s Tangga Batu MP Idris Haron.
“Everyone is talking about football, to the extent that even day-time political activities have to start later,” said Idris.
Kedah’s Pokok Sena Umno division secretary Ramli Yunus doesn’t mind politics having to compete with Euro 2012 as football was a good unifying event that helped to bridge differences.
“You can sit in a coffee house and see both PAS and Umno supporters engaged in conversation about their favourite teams and they won’t argue about politics,” said Ramli.