What the Jan 12 rally is all about

Leven Woon | January 10, 2013
PKR's Batu MP Tian Chua gives a brief recap on what the Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat rally this Saturday stands for.
PETALING JAYA: The organisers are expecting about one million people to take part in this Satuday’s Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat rally. PKR parliamentarian for Batu, Tian Chua, tackles several questions on the rally.

Where is rally going to be held?
Stadium Merdeka

How long is it expected to last
I expect it to run the whole afternoon, but officially we start from 2pm to 5pm.
Who will be the speakers at the rally?
A number of them, each representing civil groups they belong to, and the leaders of Pakatan Rakyat. The ‘real’ speakers will, however, be the rakyat… not by holding microphones on stage but by simply turning up, and that’ll speak volumes.

Why is it being held?
In the past few years, many have been held on a number of issues, be it on clean and fair elections, Lynas (rare earth refinery plant), the listing of Felda (Global Ventures Berhad).The Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat rally is the summary of all these. It’ll be a turning point in Malaysia’s history. People are reclaiming their rights.

Why do we still need another rally like this?
It’s not up to me to say. You have to ask all those who have been taking part. In a democratic society, there is a need to highlight issues, and assembly is one of the most effective channels.

How many people are expected to turn up?
Because it is a rally that sums up all the other previous protests, we are looking at one million.

What can be expected during the rally?
Respective leaders of the civil groups articulating on contentious issues like Lynas, free and fair elections, Felda and its listing, oil royalty for certain states and the like.

So politicians are not taking centre stage this time?
It will make no difference as to who raises the issues and who articulates it. Whoever supports the agenda, they will come. There is no degree of legitimacy just because issues are raised by Paktan, nor would it lose its credibility just because it is being brought by NGOs.

Is it safe to attend? Would we expect tear gas grenades or water canons?
That you have to ask the police.

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