500,000-people assembly for Change!
By Chua Jui Meng
IT WOULD have required a venue at least five times the size of Merdeka Stadium and its surroundings to accommodate the sea of people who turned up in droves for the Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur Peoples’ Uprising Assembly) or KL112 today (Jan 12, 2013).
Some 500,000 Malaysians had started marching to the stadium as early as 8am for the historic KL112 that was scheduled to start at 2pm.
It was the peoples’ clarion call for a change in the federal government in the coming 13th General Election. In short, dump the super corrupt and evil racist Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) on polling day.
However, by noon the stadium was packed to the brim with no more standing space on the field. The crowd is estimated at 100,000 inside the stadium.
By 2pm, even the stadium car park and its surroundings were inaccessible, locking out some 400,000 disappointed multi-racial multi-religious Malaysians.
They had marched towards the stadium from seven popular gathering points that include the Petronas twin towers, Jalan Tun Perak, Brickfields and the National Mosque.
All three roads leading to the stadium were inaccessible to the marchers by 2pm.
We started marching towards the stadium from the National Mosque at 1.30pm.
The turnout was electrifying, taking us almost an hour to inch our way to the stadium. This assembly by the people, for the country, is such a huge success and incident-free.
The atmosphere was carnival-like with constant chants of Change! We must also give due credit to the police who performed professionally this time.
There were no intimidations, only smiles and excellent traffic control. The absence of roadblocks that saw the federal capital locked down previously ensured smoother traffic flows in and out of the city.
The intimidating armed Federal Reserve Unit force and its armoury of water cannons and tear gas canisters were also absent.
This shows the police can discharge their duty professionally to serve the rakyat when they remain apolitical or when there is no pressure from the ruling coalition to clamp down on the rakyat. Syabas, Polis di-Raja Malaysia! (Congratulations to the Royal Malaysian Police Force!).
It also proves that Malaysians are very mature in public gatherings and they are peaceful when there is no agitation or physical force used to cow them.
Today’s peaceful and successful KL112 augurs well for Malaysian unity and a progressive Malaysia.
Here’s a pictorial blow to blow account of the march from the National Mosque to Merdeka Stadium:
Chua, former deputy minister Tan Yee Kew (in cowboy hat) and PKR supporters in pirits at the National Mosque.
A section of the crowd at the National Mosque.
The march from the National Mosque to Merdeka Stadium begins … With little standing room, they inch towards the stadium, chanting all the way …
Slowly and peacefully, the thousands head for the stadium for their clarion call for Change!
On top of an elevated section of Jalan Kinabalu, they see thousands of others emerging from below near the Jalan Bandar traffic police station.
They are locked down near the Chinese temple at Petaling Street because there is no more room for the people to go uphill to the stadium.
Unable to proceed to the stadium, the marchers loiter around with some taking a rest on the Petaling Street foot path.
These Chinese youths are sending a message to MCA … we have no fear for PAS or hudud.
Two foreign journalists seized the opportunity to interview the iconic Aunty Bersih.
Anwar: Give us a chance
January 12, 2013
The opposition leader points out that the government cannot ignore the voices of the people.
He said the rally was held to champion various issues and to ensure the voices of Malaysians were heard.
“Today’s peaceful gathering in Kuala Lumpur, and around other venues in the country and abroad, is to show that many of us are standing together, with one voice, a voice of change – whether to reform elections, halt Lynas or defend Felda families.
“We want free and fair elections. You have a vote and I have a vote. No one should steal our votes. We shall work to defend our votes and will not allow anyone to mock our votes. KL112 says, reform elections now,” he said in a statement here before the start of the rally.
“Today, in Kuala Lumpur’s peaceful assembly and in peaceful assemblies elsewhere, the message is clear: the government cannot ignore the voices of the people. You who have showed up are key to the struggle,” he added.
Touching on Malaysians living abroad, he said they should also be given the right to vote in the general election.
“…. to express as free individuals your opinion on what is happening back home in Malaysia so that many more know about our challenges, to support us back home who are working with limited resources and to channel confidence to your family members still in Malaysia that change is possible and change is near.
“Keep tweeting and posting all day, keep talking, keep sharing; every voice matters, every effort adds on to building a flood of hope, and by the day dwarfing the dam of intolerance and aloofness built by those who rule today. One day, the dam will break and sunlight will shine again in our lives,” he added.
Give us a chance
In his speech at the rally, Anwar urged the rakyat to give Pakatan a chance to govern the nation.
“Give us a chance. We will do a better job,” he said to the huge roar from the crowd.
He promised a litany of reforms should Pakatan form the next government.
He also said that if that happens after the next general election, he would invite the rakyat once again to Stadium Merdeka to celebrate their victory.
He ended his speech with chants of ‘Merdeka’ seven times.
BN play the race game
Meanwhile, DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said Barisan Nasional under the thumb of Umno has always been pitting one race against another to maintain power.
“They want to cover up their corruption scandals, so they pit one race against another.
“For good leaders look at Pakatan Rakyat. If you want a Chinese leader we have Lim Kit Siang [DAP adviser], Indian leader we have Karpal Singh [DAP chairman], Malay leader we have Abdul Hadi Awang [PAS president]and Nik Aziz Nik Mat [PAS spiritual adviser], a woman leader we have Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and leader for all Malaysians we have Anwar Ibrahim,” he said.
Hadi in his speech said the ruling Barisan Nasional had disregarded the country’s constitution on various occasions.
“But in the four Pakatan Rakyat-ruled states we have maintained a clean and transparent government. Look at how we shared power in Perak. Even when PAS had less number of seats compared to PKR and DAP, the two coalition partners allowed us to take the menteri besar post… this is our level of cooperation,” he added. - FMT
Pakatan makes 10-point demand
| January 12, 2013
Ensuring free and fair elections tops the list.
KUALA LUMPUR: The opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, made up of PAS, PKR and DAP, has made a 10-point demand to the government and topping the list is for the government to ensure free and fair elections.
Pakatan made its demands known at the Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat, attended by some 100,000 opposition supporters, at the historic Stadium Merdeka here today.
The list of demands was announced by PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution at the rally.
“If we come to power we would change the course of the government, away from corruption and race-based policies and politics. No Malaysian would be pushed aside. We will also move in tandem with each other for a better life,” he said when presenting the demands.
Apart from wanting free and fair elections, Pakatan also wants the administration of Felda to be reviewed.
“We also demand that all Malaysians including those from Sabah and Sarawak be given equal treatment. We demand that all oil-producing states are given 20% of the oil royalty.
“We also want all government servants to be professional in the administration of the country,” he added.
Pakatan also wants the government to provide a healthy living environment to all Malaysians.
“The government should preserve Bahasa Malaysia while the usage of English should be upgraded. The government should also provide free education for all Malaysians,” said Saifuddin.
Pakatan also wants all political prisoners freed.
“We also want the government to preserve our tradition, culture and heritage. We demand a better life for all Malaysians,” he said. - FMT