Video courtesy of Sivin Kit
Weeks of anticipation culminated in the announcement that was long awaited by many Malaysians:
We, the leaders of Pakatan, jointly wrote a letter to Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi – it was handed by our representatives today – seeking an immediate meeting to discuss the following: firstly, the immediate release of all political detainees including Raja Petra, Teresa Kok, Manoharan and the rest; and secondly, to discuss the smooth, peaceful transition of Power.
We have the numbers, and tonight on the eve of 916 – and tomorrow is D-Day – we are ready to form…(The crowd’s roar drowns Anwar’s words.)
“The process has begun,” confirms a senior PKR leader. “Tomorrow, emissaries are going to try and meet the PM, and if that doesn’t materialise, Anwar will start the process.”
Earlier I was on the phone with my contact inside the Kelana Jaya Stadium reporting ‘live’ from the scene:
Some 5,000 20,000 people have filled the Kelana Jaya Stadium in KL tonight. They are listening to speeches from Pakatan leaders.
Lim Guan Eng has praised Zaid for tendering his resignation on a matter of principle. Not many ministers would do such a thing, he said.
Anwar is speaking about nationalist struggles in Pakistan and india.
He praises Raja Petra, Teresa, Manoharan and the other detainees.
He quotes Pakistan’s Jinnah as saying there are two things that will destroy democracy: police and military interference, and corruption
“Look at the people’s reaction in Permatang Pauh. It was great. The leaders of Umno didn’t believe us. They were in a state of denial.”
Earlier, participants were given free Malaysian flags and wrist bands. A Sarawak flag is spotted in the crowd.
“Where does it say in Malay literature and annals that you can treat people like that?” continues Anwar, referring to the detention of the Chinese journalist.
He says that the Malay language would be upheld and protected much better than anything Umno could do. But he also guarantees the right to vernacular schools and education.
He is now talking about the economy and allaying fears of the marginalisation of Malays. He praises Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for being inclusive in his administration.
Anwar says, in a few days time, there will be “good news” from Zaid Ibrahim.
If Pakatan takes over, both 31 Aug (Independence Day) and 16 Sept (National Day) would be holidays – a common practice in many countries.
He announces that Pakatan leaders have handed over to the PM today a letter requesting negotiations (rundingan) so that the transition would be smooth.
“We, the leaders of Pakatan, jointly wrote a letter to Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi – it was handed by our representatives today – seeking an immediate meeting to discuss the following: firstly, the immediate release of all political detainees including Raja Petra, Teresa Kok, Manoharan and the rest; and secondly, to discuss the smooth, peaceful transition of Power.
“We have the numbers, and tonight on the eve of 916 – and tomorrow is the D-Day – we are ready to form…(The crowd’s roars drown Anwar’s words.)
“The test would be when we are able to discuss this with the Prime Minister – give him ample evidence – in order to respect the laws and the spirit of the Constitution and to ensure, again, a peaceful transition which is paramount in this country.
“There is no point in to harp on this racial card and religious extremism. Malaysians are now mature.”
“Yeah!” the crowd roars in approval.
“The crowd is distinctly multi-ethnic today,” observes my source.
“How can we be on track for 916 when they send the MPs to Taiwan and then they detain Teresa?” Anwar continues. “But I want to stress we have the numbers.”
“I want to guarantee that when we take over, we will not follow the law of the jungle or vengeance.
“The day we come to power, we will release all political detainees the same evening. We will reduce the price of oil and increase the oil royalty to 20 per cent (for the oil-producing states).”
He says the whole point of nationalist struggles is to be free from colonialism and exploitation.
My contact at the scene says the wrist band that was distributed is to be worn tomorrow as a sign of protest.
Eye-witness Messy Christian adds:
5000? No, 20,000 is a more likely number – I was there. It was quite a heady night, and Anwar was very convincing and confident about 916. Tomorrow he urges us to hang the Malaysian flag at our offices, homes or cars.
But James Marang isn’t convinced:
I hate to break up the Anwar love-fest in this blog which is more like a shrine to Anwar, but 916 or whatever you guys are calling is not going to happen. Get that in your heads, this guy is stringing you all for a ride. If he has the number, he’ll already be in Putrajaya. I can’t believe how pathetic you all are.
Agadam Magadam thinks some people just don’t get it:
I was there till the end… Some people just don’t get it…
Anwar explained it clearly… The numbers are there… The coalition has sent three delegates from each party with a letter signed by the three leaders to Putrajaya… for it to be handed to Badawi and also to seek an audience with him.
The request for the meeting was for the PR coalition to show proof to Badawi of the ‘numbers’ in hand and also to give Badawi an opportunity to hand over power in a peaceful manner. “A smooth transition of power”… In this sense, Anwar Ibrahim IS a gentleman….
Well, on that note, good night, folks!