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Mar 3, 2008

Anwar di Pulau Pinang

Anwar + Jeff Ooi + Karpal Singh + Guan Eng

Record turn out of 10,000 ++ despite heavy rain...its time for a change...we deserve more ...

From Malaysia-today.net:

PENANG (March 2, 2008): Big Guns from the DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat, which are fighting hard to capture Penang, were out in force last night.

The venue: The Han Chiang Indoor Stadium on Jalan Air Itam which is used more for sporting events than political speeches.

The theme: Comradeship among opposition parties, need for change and national unity.

The targets: Rracial politics, erosion of democratic principles and human rights.

The turnout: A 6,000 capacity arena filled to the brim with a couple of thousands more standing outside.

It was the first time DAP (contesting seven parliamentary and 20 state seats) and PKR (four parliament and 15 state) were on the same stage in a show of unity for the Penang electorate. But conspicuously absent was PAS which is contesting two parliament and five state seats.

Leading the assault on the ruling coalition was a line-up of opposition luninaries, including PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (whose wife and PKR president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is defencing Permatang Pauh parliament seat), DAP national chairman Karpal Singh and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

Anwar stressed on the strong bond of comradeship between DAP and PKR to build Penang. “In this elections, Penang will take the lead in toppling the Barisan Nasional (government) and on behalf of PKR, we give our word that we will work together with DAP to form a strong bond of comradeship to build Penang,” he said.

He asked voters to support the Rocket's candidates - Karpal Singh (Bukit Gelugor-parliament), Lim (Bagan-parliament) and Prof. Dr P. Ramasamy (Batu Kawan-parliament), besides PKR state chairman Datuk Zahrain Mohamed Hashim (Bayan Baru-parliamentary).

The appeal seemed to resonate with the crowd, of mixed races but majority Chinese, many standing in the rain, sharing umbrellas with strangers and some even getting drenched in the two-and-a-half hour downpour.

The show kicked off at 8pm with Penang DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow (Tanjong incumbent) acknowledging the "record-breaking" turnout.

He warmed up the audience with tales of certain politician's wealth. “We don’t want a government that enriches top leaders,” he said, drawing cheers from the crowd, and asking voters to pick a government that really looked after them.

“Tonight’s gathering is one of all races – it shows Malaysians want change and don’t let the BN say we’re racial parties. We are all people of Malaysia," he said, just in time for Anwar’s arrival.

The crowd greeted the PKR adviser with shouts of “Reformasi! Reformasi!” Anwar went on to harp on familiar subjects -- the Hindraf, fuel price, detention without trial and Umno’s dominance in BN.

Pausing to acknowledge sections of the crowd which waved or shouted to get his attention, Anwar responded: “Enough of one party rule! Enough of corruption and enough of arrogance!”

“We have to seek a new mandate to change for a just multi-racial Malaysia. I say this after travelling throughout the country – do not underestimate the wisdom of our people,” he intoned.

Of the Hindraf leaders who are detained under the Internal Security Act, Anwar said if the offence was committed, it would be rightful to detain them.

“My room in Sungai Buloh (prison) is still vacant but if there is no evidence, they must be released."

Outside, the skies opened up and the drops of rain, lightly at first and became heavier within minutes. That did not dampen the crowd’s spirits as they rushed for shelter. Those who came prepared opened umbrellas and huddled their loved ones close to them.

Karpal Singh, a veteran criminal lawyer and former Internal Security Act detainee, spoke on an independent judiciary and repeated the overused phrase from the Lingam video: "looks like me, sounds like me but it’s not me".

Stressing that DAP and PKR were multi-racial parties, he said: “We cannot afford to have racial-based parties which keep the people divided. After 51-years of Independence, are we still to cling on to shackles that keep us apart?"

He pleaded with voters to deny the BN its two-thirds majority in Parliament.

Next up was Lim who stole the show with his flawless Penang Hokkien, regaling the crowd on oft-repeated issues like rule-of-law and the choice for chief minister.

Referring to the emergence of Padang Kota incumbent assemblyman Teng Chang Yeow as a front-runner for the coveted post, he asked: “Where did Teng come from? Is it because the chief minister does not have the power to decide?”

He also questioned the legality of the Penang Global City Centre (PGCC) asking if their opinion was sought before it was approved. He said the projects had defied the Kebun Bunga local government rules which limited buildings to only three storeys.

“Penang is hot enough, Penang is congested enough and we do not need those projects. We need more green lungs. We need more green paths and that is why I say they do not respect the people,” Lim said, to the applause of the crowd.

He appealed to the people "to unite under the banner of democracy and not race and religion".

“Penang must lead in the battle because of its history of fighting for democracy. Penang’s 1.5 million people should lead in the 27 million people to bring change,” he said.


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