Saturday, May 11, 2013

PENANG gears up for its biggest-ever rally: WE NEED TO 'UBAH' - youths already at the scene

It is all systems go at the Penang National Stadium in Batu Kawan. At 2pm, it was already a hive of activity. Not only are the audio and visual crew busy fitting in their apparatus, activists lugging bags of t-shirts, horns, scarves and what-not are setting stall. So are the tradespeople, from drinks sellers to burgers to chee-cheong-fun, all are excited.
One of the event coordinators told Malaysia Chronicle they are expecting a crowd that will at least match Wednesday's more than 150,000 in Kelana Jaya, petaling that took the nation  by surprise. That would already make it Penang's largest ever rally.
"The stadium itself can take in more than 100,000. With the car park and the surrounding area, we hope to get more than 150,000," he said.
Others were more bullish, with one young man estimating 300,000.
And barring a really heavy thunderstorm, it looks like the turnout may surprise on the upside. Saturday's rally like the one in Kelana Jaya has all the look of being another youth-led charge against what is widely perceived as social injustice and poor governance.
"Yes, we need to ubah (change)," a young lady who travelled from Kuala Lumpur specially for the Penang rally toldMalaysia Chronicle when asked if the issues behind the campaign launched earlier this week by Anwar Ibrahim was important.
"We want to show our support to the CM not give up," the girl and her companions said when asked why they had come all the way to Batu Kawan in mainland Penang, some 300 kilometers away from Kuala Lumpur.
The 64-year-old Anwar, who leads the Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition, had refused to concede defeat accusing Prime Minister Najib Razak and his Umno-BN government of "stealing" the controversial May 5 general election which was marred by widespread fraud and vote-rigging accusations.
"This woud be the beginning of a fierce movement to rid the country of electoral malpractices and fraud for there is no opportunity for renewal," Anwar had told a packed press conference on Tuesday, two days after the Umno-BN claimed a victory of 133-seats in Malaysia's 222-seat federal Parliament.
"If it was a free and fair election and if the rakyat (people) had decided to choose BN, then I would concede (defeat). In a faulty fraudulent election where we have evidence to support, I now will continue the fight to defend all Malaysians."