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Monday, April 15, 2013
ANWAR FRENZY at Malay heartland rally: Unveils star-studded lineup to DEFEND SELANGOR
Monday, 15 April 2013 09:00Written by Wong Choon Mei, Alaa Soleiman, Malaysia Chronicle
UPDATED Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim announced the PKR candidates for Selangor on Sunday night, fielding more big names to help his PKR party defend Malaysia's richest state from falling back into the hands of arch rival Prime Minister Najib Razak.
The high-profile new names included academician Aziz Bari, investment whizz Wong Chen and audit specialist Rafizi Ramli who will respectively vie for the parliamentary seats in Sabak Bernam, Kelana Jaya and Pandan.
Medical specialist Dr Idris Ahmad was also confirmed for the Ijok state seat, while caretaker Selangor chief minister Khalid Ibrahim accepted the Port Klang seat. Khalid will also contest for a parliamentary seat at Bandar Tun Razak in the Federal Territories.
Azmin Ali, the PKR deputy president and Selangor state chief, Zuraida Kamaruddin, the national Women's chief, Nik Nazmi, Elizabeth Wong and Xavier Jeyakumar were among other PKR stalwarts named to defend their incumbencies.
But more than the 'star-studded' list was the huge crowd of at least 30,000 that packed the Padang AU2 in the Datuk Keramat area in Ampang - one of the key urban Malay heartlands in the country.
Their response foreshadows what may well be the outcome of the May 5 general election, and is a real warning for Prime Minister Najib Razak's Umno-BN coalition.
Anwar frenzy: A clear shift in Malay sentiment
Anwar, who is also the PKR adviser, had arrived at almost 11pm while Khalid was in the middle of his speech. Though the popular Selangor MB had drawn loud cheers when he offered to serve another 5 years, it was clear the audience had no eyes for anyone but Anwar.
Screaming and waving flags, they jostled to catch a glimpse of the 64-year-old leader. It was a frenzy of hope and anticipation. Taken with the sheer physical numbers that jammed up the entire area, it does look like Selangor will remain a PKR and Pakatan Rakyat stronghold, with the help of coalition partners DAP and PAS.
Unless one was blind and deaf, there was no way for Khalid not to realize that he would not be able to regain the crowd's attention, and sportingly, he gave way to his boss.
"Yes, this is 'luar biasa' or extraordinary," Anwar said when he took the mike. "Of course, Utusan (an Umno-controlled newspaper) will report only 200 people came. But we who are here know."
The shift in hearts and minds of the Malay electorate, the king makers, cannot be better epitomized by last night's euphoria for Anwar. The BN service centers around the area kept their lights on throughout the night, but they remained empty and the silence was eerie, the mood downcast.
Many of the seasoned 'pak ciks' or political fans who attended the ceramah or political rally could be heard saying, "for sure" Pakatan will topple the BN federal government and effect Malaysia's first-ever regime change at the coming elections.
Star-studded PKR lineup for Selangor
PKR will contest 11 parliamentary and 21 state seats in Selangor. In the state's legislative assembly, there are a total of 56 seats, of which 36 are held by the Pakatan.
Anwar named 3 newcomers to the state lineup - Mohd Yahya Saari in Permatang, Ramachandran Kandasamy in Batang Kali and Lee Chin Cheh in Kajang.
He took a swipe at Prime Minister Najib Razak for tardiness and delay in bringing out the Barisan Nasional's list. Anwar also condemned Umno-BN for its latest "sex sex sex" gutter politicking against PAS secretary-general Mustafa Ali.
Azmin Ali, who will defend his Gombak parliamentary and Bukit Antarabangsa state seats, had the crowd on their feet when he asked, 'are you ready for BN'. The answer was a thundering "NO". There was no dissension.
And when he asked, 'are you ready for Pakatan', the crowd - of which at least 95% were Malays - shouted "YES". It was unanimous.
Clamor for change burns in the Malay heartlands: From apathy to awareness
Certainly, the Datuk Keramat crowd is unhappy with the status quo. Despite the frenzy over Anwar, most of the time during his ceramah, they were quiet and followed his speech intently.
The mood was just like that in another major ceramah in Penang recently hosted by DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng on March 8, 2013 to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the watershed 12th general election where the Opposition had swept to sudden and unprecedented prominence.
In Penang, the crowd was mixed but they too were disciplined and just as absorbed in the issues raised by Anwar, who had delivered the keynote address at the Padang Kota esplanade.
To seasoned observers, these are all sure signs that the ordinary folk have reached a 'breakthrough' level.
Many political analysts have opined that Malaysians are concerned about the direction their country is heading towards. High debt and even higher costs of living have jerked the man on the street from apathy into awareness, they said, and thanks to the BERSIH rallies for free and fair polls, the people know they possess the power to change their lives with the votes in their hand.
Whether such analysis, which has been refuted by the BN, is correct will only be known on May 5. But judging from the Keramat response, it sure looks like the Malays too will vote for Pakatan at the 13th general election. They made it very clear last night that they too want change.
VIDEOS TO FOLLOW
Parliamentary seats: Ampang: Zuraida Kamaruddin Gombak: Azmin Ali Hulu selangor: Khalid Jaafar Kapar: G Manivannan Kelana Jaya: Wong Chen Kuala Langat: Abdullah Sani Pandan: Rafizi Ramli Petaling Jaya Selatan: Hee Loy Sian Sabak Bernam: Aziz Bari Selayang: William Leong Subang: R Sivarasa State seats: Batang Kali: Ramachandran Kandasamy. Batu Caves: Amirudin Shaari. Batu Tiga: Rodziah Ismail Bukit Antarabangsa: Azmin Ali Bukit Lanjan: Elizabeth Wong Bukit Melawati: S Manikavasgam Dengkil: Aman Shah Ijok: Idris Ahmad Kajang: Lee Chin Cheh Kota Anggerik: Yaakob Sapari Kuang: Tengku Maraziah Tengku Sulaiman. Permatang: Yahya Mat Saari Port Klang: Khalid Ibrahim Rawang: Gan Pei Nei Sementa: Daroyah Alwi Semenyih: Hamidi Haasan Seri Andalas: Xavier Jeyakumar Seri Muda: Shuhaimi Shafie Seri Setia: Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad Taman Medan: Haniza Talha