Bolehland: A total of 21,900,800 people have called the hotline set up by the Malaysian government to allow people express their pro-government sentiments. Local observers believe the figure is the latest proof of strong support enjoyed by the Mahathir regime.
"There are only 200 people who have not called yet. Even if they don't, we have proved to the whole world that the people is solidly behind our prime minister," said a spokesman for the ruling UMNO party which manages the hotline.
Malaysia, a nation of 22 million, has been rocked by anti-government protests following the ouster of Anwar Ibrahim, the former deputy prime minister.
Analysts believe that the remaining 200 people are pro-reform supporters and US embassy officials.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad, speaking to reporters after a speech attended by 3 million people in Perak, said he was grateful for the people's support voiced through the phone lines.
"It shows that the silent majority is now speaking up. I'm overjoyed...", he said, adding that foreign powers are behind the 200 people who did not make the calls.
Public phones in Malaysia have seen long queues of people hurrying to call the hotline in the past few days. The Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) and police task force were present at all phone booths to ensure peace.
The country's telecommunication company has also assured that it would try its best to provide more lines for the hotline. The Central Bank has also been asked by the government to produce more 10 sen coins for the benefit of phone users in rural areas. Meanwhile, two telephone operators manning the hotline have been admitted after complaints of sore throats and sudden voice disappearance symptoms.
In a related development, the New Straits Times and several other government newspapers have complained to the Domestic Trade Ministry over a lack of paper supply. The papers have planned to come up with special editions running into 1,000 pages of callers' names. Officials at the ministry have not ruled out foreign hands as one reason for the short supply. (APF)
Contributed by Aduru