Friday, April 8, 2011

Pakatan off to a flying start

Pakatan Rakyat's campaign for the Sarawak polls was off to a flying start last night with big turnouts at rallies in Kuching, Sibu and Miri. NONEAt Kuching's Premier 101 Commercial Centre, crowds of an estimated 5,000 people flooded an open-air hawker centre to listen to a slew of opposition heavyweights, including DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng. Venues at the Boulevard Commercial Centre in Miri, and near the Specialist Medical Centre in Sibu saw rallies with about 1,000 people each. Heartened by the good turnouts, DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang repeatedly stated the fact on Twitter, saying this was not only a good start for Pakatan Rakyat, but a record of sorts. Local reporters also told Malaysiakini that the mood among the rallygoers appeared to be more determined this time as compared to the 2006 state election. In Kuching, the rally venue was jam-packed, forcing organisers to erect speakers and projecters at a nearby area to enable more people to follow the speeches.

''Battle of the century'

The crowd favourite for the night was clearly Guan Eng, who told the crowd in a mix of Malay, English and Chinese that they were taking part in the “battle of the century”. kuching dap guan eng signing ubahThe Penang chief minister (centre) said although BN component party SUPP had fielded a couple of fresh faces with impeccable credentials, Pakatan's real enemy was long-serving Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud. “The SUPP candidates are really talented... on paper, they are worth voting for. But what we must ask ourselves is this:

"Do these fresh faces support 'Pek Moh'?” asked Guan Eng, using the colloquial term Sarawakian Chinese use to described Taib, in reference to his shock of white hair. kuching dap talk first nite“Can these SUPP fresh faces answer you? If they say 'yes', they offend the voters. If they say 'no', offending Taib would yield more severe repurcussions.” Guan Eng described SUPP's fresh faces as “old wine in new bottles”, stressing that the “old wine” would proved to be “poisonous” for the voters. He also took digs at Taib and his deputy George Chan, the SUPP president, over their promises to step down. “Chan used the same trick in 2006. Did he step down? Instead he got married again, just like Taib.

"Both of them have 'springs' now when they skip and walk. Do you think they want to step down?” he asked, mimicking a skipping motion and drawing roars of laughter. miri dap pkr candidates first niteOver at Miri, DAP organised a rally in the Piasau constituency, where Chan would be seeking his sixth term as state assemblyperson. DAP Youth chief Anthony Loke said that the response was far better than in 2006, adding that RM10,200 was collected in donations for their campaign fund. Initially, the police tried to stop the rally on the grounds that their application for a public assembly had been revoked because SUPP was holding another function at a restaurant nearby. This led rally organisers to demand that the police act fairly and stop the SUPP function as well. After the police backed down, the rally proceeded smoothly, albeit under a slight drizzle.

Taking turns to rail against Taib

Similar to the Kuching rally, speakers took turns to rail against Taib and accused SUPP of being the chief minister's biggest proponents. miri dap first nite talkPKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar also drew huge applause from the crowd when she addressed them briefly in Chinese, while another PKR vice-president, Tian Chua, promised that Pakatan would return oil and gas royalties to the state if it comes to power. The coast of Miri is one of Malaysia's biggest producers of natural gas. Other speakers at the event included former Bandar Kuching MP Sim Kwang Yang and Selangor exco member Teresa Kok. In Sibu, rally participants spilled over into the the street as they attempted to follow speeches by Sarawak DAP chief Wong Ho Leng and Kit Siang. sibu dap first nite talkIn his trademark fashion, Kit Siang's speeches centred on the biggest news of the day, which is the death of a Customs officer at the Kuala Lumpur Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters on Wednesday. “Few believe he committed suicide. Yesterday he was playing badminton, while this morning he went to the MACC headquarters... regardless, a life like his should not have been lost,” he said. He urged Sibu folks to vote in Pakatan candidates in order to keep closer tabs on government agencies.

[Source: Mkini]

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