Record crowd of 125,000 at Penang Black 505 rally by Susan Loone
Sunday, May 12, 2013
From Malaysiakini The sleepy town of Batu Kawan, tucked away in the southern corridor of
Penang, came alive last night when thousands, dressed in black, made
their way to the stadium for the second leg of Pakatan Rakyat's Black
505 rally. Held three days after 120,000 people showed up for a similar rally in Kuala Lumpur, Penang drew an equally large crowd, who were joined by those from two neighbouring states - Kedah and Perak.
There were also participants from Selangor and Negeri Sembilan as well,
who waved their state flags incessantly amidst Pakatan's rocket (DAP),
moon (PAS) and eye (PKR) symbols. Quite surprisingly, 85 percent
of the multiracial crowd were young men and women, who came as early as
6pm, arriving in cars and motorbikes, carrying various party flags and
banners, blowing their plastic vuvuzelas noisily in the packed stadium.
Since 4pm, the North-South Highway was jammed, with cars crawling snail
like through the Bukit Tambun exit to Batu Kawan, a well-known seafood
hangout. Pakatan leaders like Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan
Eng, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu and newly-minted Seberang Jaya
assemblyperson Dr Afif Bahardin, parked their vehicles at least five
kilometers away to get to the venue, which by night sparkled with
colourful lighted stalls selling various party paraphernalia.
PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim who arrived at around 9pm was showered with a
thunderous welcome as he walked heavily guarded into the stadium - which
in its maximum capacity could fill 80,000 people. During the
four-hour event, many carried banners and placards denouncing racism,
with messages like "We are all Malaysians", "Tsunami Rakyat" and "Racism
is so yesterday".
This is a direct response to Najib's accusation that there was a 'Chinese tsunami'
which wiped out non-Malay BN parties, voting strongly for Pakatan,
giving it the 51.4 percent popular vote compared to the former's 48.6
What more do Malaysians want?
Anwar was quick to ride on the crowd's frustration over Najib's comment and Utusan Malaysia's controversial front-page report headlined 'Apa lagi Cina mahu'(What more do the Chinese want?). "Let 'Brother' Anwar answer those questions. The Chinese, Malays,
Indians, Dayak and Kadazans want clean and fair elections, they want the
people's wealth to be returned and not be robed by BN or Umno. "This election as said by national laurette A Samad Said is the mother of all frauds. "We have the evidence to proof that it is and we want the Election Commission to explain, they cannot cheat Malaysians.
"They have cheated before and we forgave them. In this GE13, we demand
for an answer now!" he exclaimed, much to the crowd's delight and
cheering. When he spoke, Lim was terribly pleased with the
turnout, claiming Pakatan broke record again by drawing a 125,000 crowd,
at such a short notice, where the venue was changed from the MPSP
Stadium in Bukit Mertajam to Batu Kawan within a day. "There are thousands outside the stadium who cannot enter because of the massive crowd here," he said jubilantly.
He vowed to care for the welfare of all Penangites, including
supporters of BN, saying "We will do so although we don't understand why
they support BN, but we do not blame anyone". He thanked
first-time and women voters for placing their trust in Pakatan, adding
that they voted the coalition as they were looking for a bright future. "Contrary to what Najib says, the tsunami involved everyone. There is
only 25 percent Chinese voters and Pakatan obtained 51.4 percent of the
popular vote, what happened to the remaining 26 percent?" he queried.
"Don't tell me those are Bangla votes," he joked, and the crowd cheered him on. Some leave the stadium at 3am
Mohamad, better known as Mat Sabu, was probably the most animated
speaker, leading the crowd into a sarcastic laughing session against the
EC. "The EC said the ink was indelible, but it could not last
even for an hour. Hah! Hah! Hah!" he laughed, and the crowd laughed
along. "They have no shame to say this is the cleanest and
fairest election. Let's laugh and boo at them, and ask them to get
lost," he continued, while the crowd booed with him.
claimed that his mobile phone was hacked where racist messages such as
"Hidup Cina, Mampus Melayu" (Long live the Chinese, the Malays can die)
were being sent out to the public, with some calling him up to scold him
for his purported action. "I never sent those messages and I do
not know who hacked my phone. But you know the ones who are often
playing with such racist issues," he said, and the crowd cried ‘Umno'.
About 10 other speakers took their turns to speak at the event which
ended at about midnight, but the crowd was not to leave the stadium
compound so soon. As the massive crowd made their way to their
cars, they were trapped for about two hours within two kilometers of the
stadium as the road to the highway was blocked by two large lorries and
by the haphazard parking of ceramah goers who parked their vehicles in
the middle of the road.
The crowd had to inch their way for
about one and a half hour before coming out of the maze, with many
complaining of "sabotage" that the lorries were purposely parked to
block the road, saying that the organisers did not plan well on how to
disperse the traffic after the massive ceramah.
Most of the
crowd only managed to get to their cars and leave the stadium by 3am,
but throughout the whole ordeal, they must be commended for their
restrain and discipline, and their ability to keep calm and united under
those testing moments.