More than 30,000 people turned up to hear Pakatan leaders tell why its best to vote for them and not for Umno in Johor.BATU PAHAT: A Pakatan Rakyat ceramah here on Friday managed to attract more than 30,000 people in what Pakatan leaders say is a sign of support moving away from Umno to them.
Never in Johor’s political history has an opposition rally attracted such an enormous crowd.
The assembly was part of the ongoing state-level Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat (Peoples’ Uprising Assembly) series being organised by Pakatan nationwide.
It followed the national-level assembly staged in Taman Seremban Jaya in Senawang on Nov 3 which also attracted about 30,000 Malaysians.
Johor PKR chairman Chua Jui Meng and Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim arrived together at about 11pm and were pleasantly surprised by the mammoth crowd.
They both had to wade through a sea of people to get to the stage with their shoes and trousers covered with mud. PAS president Hadi Awang was then in the midst of his speech.
After Hadi wrapped up his ceramah, a brief ceremony was held to introduce and accept the membership application forms of several ex-senior Johor civil servants and former key Umno members who joined PAS.
Anwar was then called to the stage to deliver his ceramah and got the crowd roaring when he shot off with: “This is not an Umno assembly! What (Prime Minister and Umno president) Najib (Tun Razak) doesn’t understand is the emergence of Kebangkitan Rakyat (Peoples’ Uprising).”
“Malaysians today are well informed about socio-political issues. They are also much more intelligent and it is not so easy, as in the past, to fool them.
“There is no room for lip service and mere rhetoric in politics anymore. We must tell the rakyat (people) what we can offer and what we can do to provide good governance.
“We must make clear our people-oriented policies and that we are here to serve the people and to ensure their welfare and country’s progress.
“Unlike BN, if we are given the mandate to administer Putrajaya after the next 13th general election, we will ensure the eradication of corruption,” Anwar said.
The tiger is awakened
Speaking on the sidelines, Chua, who is also PKR vice-president, said: “Tonight is the turning point of Pakatan’s arduous journey not only to Putrajaya, but to also topple Umno and MCA in their political stronghold.
“Tonight’s crowd is simply amazing because they remained until 1am to hear us out. They were also not put off by the muddy ground caused by rain in the late afternoon. The tiger is awakened! Umno, MCA and BN beware.
“What is more telling is that some 90% of the audience were Malays. We are now witnessing a strong swing of Malay voters in Johor to Pakatan.
“In fact, I had arrived together with Anwar from the Johor PKR Deepavali Open House cum ceramah in Tebrau.
“The turnout was about 5,000 people and what was encouraging was that 90% of the audience were Indians. This indicates Johoreans want people-centric and cleaner state and federal governments.
“The strong turnout by the Indians in Johor also confirms that the community is also giving wider support to Pakatan compared with the March 2008 political tsunami,” he added.