Thousands thronged the Kuala Kubu Bahru min-stadium in Hulu Selangor tonight both in a show of support and to hear Pakatan Rakyat's final pitch before polling begins at 8 am tomorrow for the parliamentary constituency.
While the Pakatan event was held at the Kuala Kubu Bahru mini-stadium, there was nothing 'mini' about the crowd with some 1,000 flooding the venue even before the start time of 9pm.
Just one hour later, the audience was estimated to have risen to over 5,000 reach 8,000 about half-an-hour later. At this juncture, people were seen crowding outside the stadium gates, peering in. The bulk of the crowd comprised of non-locals.
It was a colourful multiracial crowd comprising families and young children amidst the raised PKR and DAP flags. Amongst the first Pakatan leaders to arrive were PKR vice-president Azmin Ali, deputy president Syed Husin Ali and info chief Tian Chua. Those who arrived later included DAP veteran Karpal Singh.
Also seen on stage was former MIC vice-president and ex- Hulu Selangor MP SS Subramaniam who had joined PKR last year. This follows last night's appearance of Tamrin Ghafar, son of the late deputy prime minister Ghafar Baba, on stage with PKR advisor Anwar Ibrahim.
Tian Chua was the first to take the microphone and greeted the crowd in three languages.
He then warned party supporters not to be too confident and be wary of what he said would be last-minute deceptions.
The PKR candidate himself Zaid Ibrahim arrived at 9.35pm to the spirited chants 'Reformasi' 'Hidup Keadilan' and 'Undi Zaid Ibrahim'.
PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar then took the mike and claimed that information was relayed to him that 35 busloads of 'phantom' voters would be coming into Kuala Lumpur via Tanjung Malim tonight.
Azmin then took the podium and told the enthusiastic crowd that the BN candidate for the crucial by-election, P Kamalanathan, would not be a representative for the Indians would instead be a tool of Umno.
Veteran politician and senior counsel Karpal was next to address the crowd who greeted him with thunderous applause. Just at that moment, a police helicopter flew low over the stadium and Karpal had the crowd in stitches when he quipped: "Don't worry, it is not the police, it is Rosmah." (Mansor, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's wife).
At around 11pm, the three Pakatan menteri besar, Lim Guan Eng of Penang, Khalid Ibrahim of Selangor and Nik Aziz Nik Mat of Kelantan arrive at the stadium to thunderous applause of the now 10,000 strong crowd.
Tok Guru Nik Aziz was clearly a favorite with those present.
'PM must resign'
Guan Eng was the first to take the microphone and took the opportunity to plug for Pakatan at the federal level. He promised to allocate RM1,000 each to all senior citizens and provide free Wi-Fi services nationwide for youth if Pakatan Rakyat assume federal leadership.
Khalid then announced that Zaid had been appointed to head a working committee to assist Felda settlers assume ownership of their land.
Zaid then took the stand and noted that if PM Najib classified tomorrow's by-election as a referendum, then both he and Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin should resign immediately should BN lose tomorrow.
A visibly tired Nik Aziz was next to speak and a hush fell over the packed stadium. In the midst of his speech, Pakatan supremo, Anwar Ibrahim made a quiet entrance.
At 11.51pm -nine minutes to midnight - Anwar, as the last speaker, takes the podium and asked supporters to make sure every vote went to Zaid. "Let them be proud and arrogant; we will spring a surprise tomorrow," he said to wild cheers and claps.
It is the question of dignity for the people of Hulu Selangor. Let us not because of RM200 sell of dignity. Tomorrow is the day to regain our dignity [...] no one can take it from us," he added.
On the Apco issue, Anwar said it wasn't about Jews or anti-Semitism but about the BN government engaging Israeli spies. "I am willing to take the matter to court," he said.
'A new chapter'
Referring to the doctored posters of Zaid Ibrahim clutching a whiskey bottle which had made it rounds over the past week in Hulu Selangor, Anwar said that his Pakatan counterpart Lim Kit Siang had challenged PM, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein and Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin to stand up and admit if they didn't drink. "But all of them remained quiet," Anwar noted.
At 12.10am, the de facto Pakatan leader ended his speech with a parting request to the crowd which by now had swelled to over 13,000.
"The majority of the Malays, Chinese, Indians and Orang Asli must reject Umno and BN. Let this be the beginning of a new chapter in the history of heading towards Putrajaya."
The event drew to a close as the Pakatan leaders came down from the stage and the crowd taking the opportunity to shake their hands and snap photographs as they slowly made their way to the main exit.
These pictures say it all ....
More pictures can be seen here.