Pakatan-NGOs rally to showcase Election 2013 issues for victory

People gather in the city ahead of the “KL112” rally in Kuala Lumpur, January 11, 2013. — Picture by Choo Choy May
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 ― Malaysia will once again come under the world’s microscope today as thousands of political and civil society activists converge in brute numbers in the capital city to challenge the ruling Barisan Nasional’s (BN) hold on Putrajaya since Merdeka.
The “Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat”, popularly dubbed as “KL112” or the “rainbow gathering”, is a symbolic coming together of both the federal opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact and the country’s civil society movement in a mammoth event timed strategically just months before the national polls that must be held by June.
For both sides, the relationship is symbiotic, or even necessary to ensure their respective goals are achieved, whether it is to scrap the Lynas rare earth project in Kuantan, provide free tertiary education, reform the elections or to replace BN as the government.
Speaking to The Malaysian Insider yesterday, several analysts agreed that, for PR, today’s rally will be the best opportunity to re-energise its supporters and even sway apolitical activists and fence-sitters their way after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his government implemented his 1 Malaysia concept to win back support.
“If everything runs peacefully, PR can count on the event having energised its members and supporters, having seen this groundswell of support.
“The impact will be positive and perhaps psychological as those in attendance, would feel uplifted and encouraged to work for the parties and the respective causes,” said Merdeka Center director Ibrahim Suffian.
Should the rally hit the targeted one-million mark or even draw close to half that amount of participants, the KL112 “rainbow gathering” will also likely be used as a yardstick to measure PR’s performance in the 13th general election.
To Ibrahim, the crowd numbers will be a “visual marker” for those with many grievances against the government and an indicator of what may occur when elections are called and the campaign race begins.
Universiti Teknologi Mara Prof Madya Shaharudin Badaruddin said the same, but added that the most significant impact of the polls would rest on how the rally sways the fence-sitters and not the hardcore supporters of either PR or the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN).
“If attendance is big, certainly the impact is good for PR. But most important is what it does to the fence-sitters,” he said.
But the academic added that it was important not to be dismiss the possibility that today’s mammoth gathering may also play well into BN’s hands.
He pointed out that the government’s openness in permitting the event to be held and the readiness of the police force to accommodate the event, would impress voters well.
“Perhaps they will see this as a government that is finally maturing, that is serious about the transformation policies that it has been speaking about.
“Therefore, for those who could have been swayed to the opposition, they may fall back into BN’s fold,” he said.
Agreeing, Ibrahim said the KL112 gathering could even prove to be a “double-edged” sword for PR, particularly if the event does not result in running battles between protestors and the police.
“At least for those in the middle, they will look at BN as more matured, as finally being appreciative of democracy and not afraid of contestation in this format,” he said.
In the build-up to this afternoon’s event, rally organisers have generated intense media buzz to cast a global spotlight on the city centre.
Even across Twitter, endless debates continued on into the dead of last night as excited participants discussed plans for the event.
To organisers, this is a mark of the “people’s uprising” or “kebangkitan rakyat”, which is the very purpose for the event.
“This is a rally to remind the government of the day, and those who may hold power next, that these are the grievances of Malaysians and they must be remembered and solved. The people are what matters,” activist Hishammuddin Rais told The Malaysian Insider last night.
He described the city centre as a whirlwind of activity as thousands of supporters and rally participants streamed in to await today’s mammoth event, which is set to kick off from 2pm to 5pm at the iconic Stadium Merdeka.
The activist acknowledged concerns of over-crowding in the stadium but insisted that peace would be maintained at all times, owing to the maturity and sincerity of those who have come to show support.
He said the stadium could fit some 30,000 people on its bleachers and at least 15,000 in the field, while outside the venue, there would be ample space for others to participate.
Massive speakers and screens are said to have been erected outside the stadium to enable those who could not squeeze into the stadium to witness the happenings inside.
The rally’s chief organiser, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, said the event will help PR in its final push towards the coming 13th general election, which is expected to be the most hotly contested polls to date.
He said PR, the three-party pact which has come under attack recently for its differences in ideologies and founding principles, will also need to use the rally as its platform to prove that despite these many issues, the coalition remains united.
“We will show that we are united in our fight against BN, against all the cheating and manipulation.
“And what we want to do is to keep Malaysians alert so that our takeover will be successful, through a fair and democratic process,” he said.

No comments:

Do feel free to provide suggestions, ideas, comments, complaints or articles. Thank you


To post comments, you need not log in to the Google account, just click Anonymous.

Malaysian Indian Ethnic Cleansing by UMNO led government