A mammoth rally by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) here last night gave Malaysians a glimpse of what to expect when official campaigning for the next general election starts.
Corruption issues struck a chord with the crowd, who cheered the loudest when Datuk Seri Sharizat Abdul Jalil’s NFC scandal, and Sabah Umno’s “political donation” cases which involved the de facto law minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz were mentioned by PR leaders.
Government retiree Khairuddin Abdullah, 40, was among those at the rally, and his remarks could influence the state Barisan Nasional (BN) sound the alarm as the general election draw near.
“I came here tonight to hear PR leaders talk ... there are many BN scandals being exposed.
“If PR wins, there are many changes that can be implemented,” he told
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and his opposition colleagues made their pitch last night for voters to back “the Pakatan Rakyat way” at the rally here in the capital of Negeri Sembilan, a state now held by BN, but identified by the opposition as a state that could swing either way in the next elections.
“The BN’s way is the old way. It’s the way where parties are made of different races. That is not like the PR’s way. All of our parties have people from different races and religions,” Abdul Hadi said.
Last night’s crowd numbered in the thousands and was composed mostly of partisan supporters, but many had also come from the capital’s outskirts out of curiosity to listen to the pitch for their votes from Hadi, DAP’s Lim Kit Siang and PKR’s Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Kew Yong Peng, 40, who made the trek here from Tampin, a small town that straddles the Negeri Sembilan-Malacca border, put the PR states as a benchmark in anti-graft measures.
“I want changes in our leadership ... corruption is very bad nowadays, if PR rules (the nation), I am confident that corruption will be reduced,” he told The Malaysian Insider in between listening to speeches from the leaders of DAP, PKR and PAS.
Hadi took great pains to differentiate PR from BN in his speech to the multiracial crowd.
“PAS is a multiracial Islamic party. We have non-Muslims in our Non-Muslim PAS Supporters Congress. PKR is a multiracial and multireligious party. So is DAP.”
“This is different from BN. Their parties are all racial.”
In Election 2008, PR had won 3 out of 8 parliamentary seats in Negeri Sembilan, and 15 out of 36 state legislative assembly seats,
Despite making up only 41.8 per cent of the voters’ population in Seremban, a majority of those that attended the PR rally last night were the Malays, a warning signal to BN which has traditionally been able to rely on strong support from the community.
Ani, 56, from Kuala Pilah, attended the rally to “get the real story”, which she said would not come from the local TV stations.
“I just hope to see changes,” she said.
Anwar, the Opposition Leader who is fresh from his recent campaign trips to East Malaysia, told the Seremban crowd of PR’s events in Sabah and Sarawak.
The promise that the two previously “safe deposits” for Barisan Nasional (BN) can be won by the Opposition has boosted confidence in the audience tonight.
But ultimately official corruption, or hints of graft and abuse, was the crowd pleaser, a theme that the BN campaign must be prepared to deal with.
Both Anwar and DAP’s Lim Kit Siang spoke on the controversial AES speed cameras which has sparked widespread public objections and is being opposed by PR as well as those in BN who are worried the ruling coalition would lose votes as a result of issuing summonses to tens of thousands of voters as elections loom.
Playing to the gallery, Lim scored with his dig at corruption and speed cameras.
“An ‘Automatic Enforcement System’ for corruption ... do you agree or not?” Lim asked the crowd who answered with a loud chorus of “yes”.
Negeri Sembilan WILL definitely choose a CLEAN government! No right thinking Rakyat WILL RETURN a CORRUPT and OPPRESSIVE regime who continue to ROB and STEAL in Putrajaya. Lets VOTE FOR A BETTER TOMORROW!! PKR!!
This is the only country in the world that outsourced the traffic summonses, why not do 1 more step further to outsource the whole cabinet jobs as well. 1 Mlaysia=Everything is under 1 THING, ie, OUTSOURCING.