An aerial shot of the mammoth crowd outside and inside Stadium Merdeka.
SOME 500,000 people took to the streets of the federal capital Kuala Lumpur to make a clarion call for change and, a clean and fair 13th General Election.
With the 222-seat Parliament due for automatic dissolution on April 28, the country’s largest ever display of the Peoples’ Power is sending the shivers down the spine of the Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders who have ruled Malaysia for 55 uninterrupted years.
Corruption, racism and exploitation of religious sentiments have been the hallmark of BN (previously Alliance Party)’s rule till today.
The March 2008 political tsunami was the rakyat(people)’s wake-up call to the Umno-led BN to buck up on its governance.
The rakyat had in 2008, for the first time in Malaysia’s electoral history denied the BN its traditional two-thirds majority in Parliament.
They also opted for the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to rule four states – Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor. PR retained its grip on a fifth state - Kelantan - through PAS.
Fortunately for the Anwar Ibrahim-led Opposition PR, BN-Umno remained arrogant and refused to reform and renew its political relevance to the people.
Here’s a first person account of what happened today:
500,000-people assembly for Change!
By Chua Jui Meng
IT WOULD have required a venue at least five times the size of Merdeka Stadium and its surroundings to accommodate the sea of people who turned up in droves for theHimpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur Peoples’ Uprising Assembly) or KL112 today (Jan 12, 2013).
Some 500,000 Malaysians had started marching to the stadium as early as 8am for the historic KL112 that was scheduled to start at 2pm.
It was the peoples’ clarion call for a change in the federal government in the coming 13th General Election. In short, dump the super corrupt and evil racist Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) on polling day.
However, by noon the stadium was packed to the brim with no more standing space on the field. The crowd is estimated at 100,000 inside the stadium.
By 2pm, even the stadium car park and its surroundings were inaccessible, locking out some 400,000 disappointed multi-racial multi-religious Malaysians.
They had marched towards the stadium from seven popular gathering points that include the Petronas twin towers, Jalan Tun Perak, Brickfields and the National Mosque.
All three roads leading to the stadium were inaccessible to the marchers by 2pm.
We started marching towards the stadium from the National Mosque at 1.30pm.
The turnout was electrifying, taking us almost an hour to inch our way to the stadium. This assembly by the people, for the country, is such a huge success and incident-free.
The atmosphere was carnival-like with constant chants of Change! We must also give due credit to the police who performed professionally this time.
There were no intimidations, only smiles and excellent traffic control. The absence of roadblocks that saw the federal capital locked down previously ensured smoother traffic flows in and out of the city.
The intimidating armed Federal Reserve Unit force and its armoury of water cannons and tear gas canisters were also absent.
This shows the police can discharge their duty professionally to serve the rakyat when they remain apolitical or when there is no pressure from the ruling coalition to clamp down on the rakyat. Syabas, Polis di-Raja Malaysia! (Congratulations to the Royal Malaysian Police Force!).
It also proves that Malaysians are very mature in public gatherings and they are peaceful when there is no agitation or physical force used to cow them.
Today’s peaceful and successful KL112 augurs well for Malaysian unity and a progressive Malaysia.
Here’s a pictorial blow to blow account of the march from the National Mosque to Merdeka Stadium:
Chua, former deputy minister Tan Yee Kew (in cowboy hat) and PKR supporters in pirits at the National Mosque.
A section of the crowd at the National Mosque.
The march from the National Mosque to Merdeka Stadium begins … With little standing room, they inch towards the stadium, chanting all the way …
Slowly and peacefully, the thousands head for the stadium for their clarion call for Change!
On top of an elevated section of Jalan Kinabalu, they see thousands of others emerging from below near the Jalan Bandar traffic police station.
They are locked down near the Chinese temple at Petaling Street because there is no more room for the people to go uphill to the stadium.
Unable to proceed to the stadium, the marchers loiter around with some taking a rest on the Petaling Street foot path.
These Chinese youths are sending a message to MCA … we have no fear for PAS or hudud.
Two foreign journalists seized the opportunity to interview the iconic Aunty Bersih.