This is the scene at Padang Merbok, where some 50,000 are attending a rally in support of Hadi’s bill.

Mind you, this is without any obstacles, roadblocks or threats of arrest. (And so can have a fair idea of how many people Pas could contribute to a Bersih rally.) This is more or less the number of supporters Pas could pack into a stadium in say, Kelantan and Terengganu.

Indeed, the numbers appear well short of Hadi’s prediction of a 200,000 turnout – and it is hardly a ringing nationwide endorsement of his bill. My good friend, Tasik Gelugor Pas information chief Abdul Rahman Kasim, was more guarded, forecasting 100,000 ahead of the rally. As friends, we have had frank exchanges – and strong differences of views – over whether Hadi’s bill is suitable for a diverse, multireligious society like ours. But no hard feelings.

Meanwhile, some 200 gathered for the Bebas counter rally at Taman Jaya. Among those addressing the crowd was Haris Ibrahim.

Anyway, it is good that the authorities have respected the right of both sides to gather peacefully and air their views at different venues.


MP for Kelana Jaya Wong Chen has alerted Malaysians that the amendments to Hadi’s bill have been delivered to MPs.

According to Wong Chen, “He (Hadi) has finally abandoned his hudud punishment agenda and he will now pursue instead a maximum of 30 years jail sentence, RM100,000 fine and 100 strokes.”

I will always remember Tok Guru Nik Aziz for his utter simplicity, his humble lifestyle and his genuine openness to inter-religious dialogue.

Tok Guru presents Bishop Sebastian with a mouth-watering cake: Where did the cake come from?
Tok Guru presents Bishop Sebastian with a mouth-watering cake

He lived in a modest kampung house, used a BIC ballpoint pen, and did not have much use for the trappings of power. Once when I interviewed him, along with a colleague from Aliran, I was startled that he opted to sit on the floor for the interview. This was the Menteri Besar of Kelantan, mind you.