A celebrity’s welcome
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Despite police warning that the rally was illegal, thousands turned up for a Pakatan Rakyat state government sponsored ‘thanksgiving’ event at the Esplanade in Penang last night.
The crowd, mostly youths sporting black T-shirts armed with plastic vuvuzela horns, appeared to hold fast to the spirit of Blackout 505, Pakatan’s clarion call against alleged election fraud and vote buying in the May 5 general elections.
“In most countries if such incidents of fraud happen, there would have been massive civil strike,” said Pakatan leader Anwar Ibrahim, the last speaker for the night.
“Prime Minister Najib Razak should thank Pakatan for maintaining peace and calm in all our protests,” said the former deputy prime minister.
“I want to tell them, they can try to declare our rallies illegal but they can never stop people’s power because the people’s voice is mighty (suara rakyat suara keramat),” he shouted to loud applause from the crowd.
Anwar said it was impossible to accept the results of the general elections when there were close to30 seats in doubt, while BN retained Putrajaya although it managed to obtain only 48 percent of the popular vote.
“They asked us to accept the cheating and the robbery? Your car or home is stolen from you and they tell you to accept the reality? Reality, my foot!” he exclaimed.
“This is fraud, there is no way any citizen of Malaysia should accept this fraud,” added the Permatang Pauh MP.
“If there are any seats where Umno or BN had won, and we don’t have evidence of cheating, we would accept the results, we would concede,” he stressed.
“But in the 30 seats that we lost, we have evidence of electoral fraud and we shall challenge these results,” he vowed.
A celebrity’s welcome
A celebrity’s welcome
When he arrived at 9.40pm, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was given a celebrity’s welcome, with loud cheers from the crowd, many of whom also blared their vuvuzelas repeatedly.
Lim estimated the crowd size to be about 60,000, thanking the Penang voters for giving Pakatan another term to rule the state.
He later introduced his team of state cabinet members to the crowd, saying they were specially picked to serve the people.
“You give people RM500 BR1M money, and you want to get back millions by implementing the GST?” queried the DAP secretary-general.
“We will not accept this, we will go all out and fight it.
“You cannot impose this tax on the 52 percent majority (of those who voted for Pakatan) because you are a minority (government),” Lim chided.
He was referring to a statement by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Idris Jala who said the new tax can guarantee additional revenue of RM20 billion to RM27 billion for the government.
“I know BN has no more money, so what you have to do is stop being corrupt. Why not let us be the government and we will show you good governance,” he boasted, drawing loud cheers of approval from the Pakatan supporters.
During his speech, DAP national chairman Karpal Singh spoke about the right to assemble, while commending the crowd for being courageous enough to attend the rally despite the threat that the event was “illegal”.
“Let me warn the police this is not an illegal assembly but a gathering of citizens who want to express their concerns at the general elections results,” said the Bukit Gelugor MP.
The event ended at midnight, and with the police stationed at strategic locations leading to the Esplanade, no untoward incident or traffic congestion happened.
Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy said Zahid should be arrested and jailed for his “seditious” statement telling those who do not accept the results of the general elections to leave the country.
The crowd blew their vuvuzelas wildly in approval to Ramasamy’s suggestion..
“But is Najib brave enough to do this? No, he is a coward,” added the Prai assemblyperson.
Spread news to rural areas
New state exco for youths and sports, women, family and community development and arts Chong Eng, who switched from being a member of parliament to a state assembly representative, thanked Penangites for voting in Pakatan with a resounding victory despite all the challenges and temptations they faced before and during the 15-day campaign period.
“You have proven that you cannot be swayed by money or empty promises or threats, you are the best,” she said to loud applause from the crowd.
She spoke about how important press freedom was to effect change, especially in the rural areas, as well as Sabah and Sarawak, where Pakatan failed to capture the necessary seats to enable it to seize Putrajaya from BN.
“If we have our own TV station, I am sure Malaysia would have changed already. Democracy without press freedom is not complete or a matured democracy,” added the Padang Lalang assemblywoman.
“So please, go to the rural areas, bring your laptops or your iPads and share with the people the information you have from the Internet and online news like Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider so that they would have proper access to information,” she added