Massive 60,000-strong rally in Penang raises Opposition hopes


dap rally

Photo credit: DAP Ceramah; More pictures here.

If you thought last Saturday’s ceramah attended by 10,000 people at the Han Chiang High School indoor stadium was huge, think again…

The crowd tonight, this time out in the open in the vast Han Chiang school field, was massive. My engineer friend, a maths whizz, at first tried to estimate the crowd size based on the guesstimated length and breadth of the school field to determine its area multiplied by the average crowd density per square metre! But the crowd kept rising all the time and soon spilled all around the field and outside the perimeter fencing. Finally, he just gave up on his maths and settled for a rough estimate of 60,000. Another researcher who accompanied me also independently came up with a figure of 60,000, saying the turnout could have packed a large football stadium. I concurred with them both. A fourth person, a magazine editor, said the crowd was “easily 50,000”.

Of course, you can’t judge voter sentiment just by the crowd size. But this was no ordinary crowd. Many of them were young. They cheered, they clapped, they whistled, they roared, they sang, they chanted – and they sent a buzz of energy into the air. Indeed, the atmosphere was electric. Seven times, led by a speaker, they chanted, “Jom ubah!

The DAP had set up a sophisticated audiovisual system with giant screens strategically placed. High-quality inhouse-produced music videos with catchy songs further charged the electricity in the air. A large crane, onto which was affixed a powerful spotlight, lifted a video-cameraman high up into the air so that he could film aerial views of the crowd which were projected “live” onto the giant screens. The crowd ooh-ed and aah-ed when they saw themselves on the screen stretching far out into dark ends of the field.

Jeff Ooi, clearly a crowd favourite, strummed the guitar and belted a few Chinese songs in a somewhat hoarse voice – which made him sound a bit like Louis Armstrong! – much to the delight of the crowd.

If during the largely ethnic Malay-dominated Bersih demonstration last November many wore bright yellow T shirts, and if the Makkal Sakthi Indian Malaysians opted for pale orange, tonight many in the crowd – more than half of them – sported bright red or white tops – the colours of the DAP, apart from red being the auspicious colour of the Chinese.

Karpal, Guan Eng, and Kit Siang received rapturous welcomes as each made a grand entrance into the field, accompanied by Rocket flag bearers wading through the sea of people. A couple of people swung Keadilan flags. Fireworks erupted in the air.

The speeches lacked substance, but the crowd didn’t mind. All the speakers had to do was say, “We must deny the Barisan a two-thirds majority” and a great roar would reverberate across the field. One of them led the crowd in chanting “Up, Up DAP! Down, down, Barisan!” Still, Karpal demanded the release of the Hindraf ISA detainees while other candidates spoke up strongly against the PGCC project.

Zahrain Mohamed Hashim, the PKR candidate for the Bayan Baru parliamentary seat, turned up, representing Wan Azizah, who was unable to attend (apparently because Hishammuddin had turned up in Permatang Pauh to give her a hard time). Zahrain pledged that the PKR candidates would work with their DAP counterparts “like brothers” to send the BN packing, triggering cheers from the crowd.

A steady drizzle during the first half of the proceedings didn’t deter the crowd, many of whom had come prepared with brollies.

Earlier that evening, before attending the rally, I went to buy some pau in a largely Chinese-majority area. I asked the pau man who he was voting for this time.

He hesitated, looking somewhat undecided – one of those floating voters perhaps. Then he asked me a telling question, “Why-ah everyone voting for opposition this time…?”

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Gopal Raj Kumar

More like 10,000. The exaggeration i swhat mkes the opposition loose….

Gopal Raj Kumar

Perhaps the Catholic Christian church and their padeophiles will join Ambiga now. out of 27 million what is 60,000 to 100,000 or even a million. In a democracy it is the majority and not a loud minority that wins.


I saw you at muhyiddin Kenduri at Bayan Baru…


Winds of change. whatever happens dont let the spirit die.

We know deep in our hearts , we need change. If not
just stay contented day after day and let whatever happen
will happen and let the shop with the oldest trademark continue
to operate which meant for members of family only.

You remain as customer and just pay for what being asked without question cos –
You ask for it.


Thanks for the update. Malaysian Insider put the estimate at 10,000 .

Anyway does it matter. The numbers need to be translated into votes.

I am not too happy because there seems to be no Malays there.


Dear Anil,

Nice of you to write about it, yes, I was there too braving the rain, we estimated about 50k people not counting those standing outside football field. No shelter, no free food, no ang pao, no sexy idol singers, just plain opposition speakers.

Who said Bolehland (Peace be upon MGG Pillai) people cannot behave in public rally ?

Penang is ready to change history, is Malaysia ?



I was there since 7 o’clock and totally agree that the figures fetched around 60k on and off.


Dear Netto,

I agree that the the speeches lacked substance, but we don’t care because we already decided who to vote long time ago.

The crowd was definitely 60k or more..


Jay Jay

Time to change the government. Let’s give the DAP & PKR a chance!

Charles Joseph

Why was there nothing on the Klang Ceramah’s- in Hin Hua School and so on..?? Has anyone got pictures of the KLang events ?? Pls post them for all to see… I was there, and the crowd was massive.. I think the people of Klang sulah bangun lo..!!! THE LAND OF BAK KU TEH has woken up… It gave me a fantastic feeling that night.. WINDS OF CHANGE…YES…YES…YES… Go out on the 8th and VOTE BN OUT…OUT…OUT!!!!!! Long overdue… DAP, when you win, please co-operate with PKR and PAS to for the next Gomen, that we have all been waiting… Read more »


lets see the … mainstream paper reprt as it should have.


thanks again bro Anil, i wont forget that moment………i see the Hope that night and see the Future !!!! 2 hours b4 Ceramah, i take early dinner nearby , i wear in RED, the next table 3 RED, follow by many many of RED and WHITE……..on the road, lots of RED and WHITE one hand a bottle of drinking water and one hand with umbrella walking to the same direction……same Motto……………”Jom Ubah” i sit in middle of the field……..only one guy smoking in my view!!! which mean other smoker are very understanding and know the respect each other…..or maybe there… Read more »


i was there! proud to be there! first time at a rally with such a huge crowd!

although you may say the speech has no substance, but one thing good i notice is that they did not do personal attack i.e. character assassination…. unlike those BN big guns… the BN ceramah at rifle range where i attended… all of them attacked anwar! shame!


I just came back from the election centre. I noticed that pencil was used to mark the candidate you wish to nominate. This is dangerous as pensil can be easily erased. Why can’t the EC use ball point pens so that they cannot be erased? For years, we suspect and have reasons to believe that there are loopholes in the election system and have been abused by certain parties.Thta is why thousands of rakyat refuse to vote for fear of reprisal later. It’s about time remedial actions be taken to rectify this system failure so that the rakyat can vote… Read more »


BN doesn’t talk about Malaysians It is on your race and mine After 50 years under BN rule The racial bogey still plays big time Election is for all Malaysians It doesn’t have to base on a race Time to think as a unity Walking tall as Malaysians in the global villages Yet I hear BN sings about race Vote for your race to represent in the government MCA, MIC, UMNO, PPP, Gerakan And parties in Sabah and Sarawak The opposition sings Deny BN its majority stake It is time folks Let BN go………. Enough of racial composition Enough of… Read more »


congratulation DAP for winning and taking over Penang and Perak.

All the best for you.


May I know where is the page about dap’s manisfesto in Penang?