The Last Ceramah: Close to 60,000 people turned up for the big one. This was the scene at around 9.45pm on a wet night. Now you know why I turned back!
0020: Huge traffic jams after the ceramah ends. The revised estimate for the size of the crowd is between 50,000 and 60,000, according to my source at the scene. Ceramah speakers have warned people to be on the lookout for any Umno/BN/other people dressed in PKR attire who could be out to create havoc in the morning.
0010: TV3 news is highlighting the case of the two Perak PKR exco members who were charged for corruption today. There will be a re-mention of the case on 15 Sept – hey, that’s one day before 16 Sept! Nothing mentioned about the two exco members today filing a RM100 million suit against the ACA and three others over their arrest.
Meanwhile, in an attempt at damage control, the FT Mufti, Wan Zahidi, appears on the news to declare that Saiful’s oath was fine and that imam, Ustaz Ramlang Porigi, is just a junior official who basically doesn’t know what he is talking about! Ramlang, says the Mufti, didn’t provide any theological references for his statements.
2351: Thanks to all the “citizen journalists” who contributed reports of the situation on the ground today. I received many calls from friends and relatives asking me what the real situation is because the word going around is that the BN has been gaining the upper hand. But as you can see below, the reality offers a totally different picture. Thanks for helping to counter the rumours and the mainstream media’s spin.
2347: A speaker at the big ceramah in Seberang Jaya is urging folks to keep a sharp lookout for any irregularities during polling tomorrow and to report any wrongdoings.
2337: Despite the state holiday for Penang tomorrow, it is believed that some factories in the FTZ will be operating as usual. But they are likely to give workers time off to vote. The margin of victory will depend on the voter turnout.
2314: Blog reader Karma says PKR’s chances look bright while the same can’t be said for BN:
It’s almost 11.00pm now. Things are beginning to settle. Supporters of Anwar are very pleased as they feel that they have done their best this time around to campaign for Anwar.
Supporters of BN, on the other hand, seem quite frustrated. Things don’t seem to favour them. A lot of issues brought up by their masters have backfired, according to them. The issue of Saiful was actually a non-issue for many people in Permatang Pauh. They felt that the explicit way of showing and telling the people what happened to him did not go down well with the community here. Most disbelieved Saiful’s version of the story.
Ustaz Ramlang had the final say on this issue and this spoiled BN’s image on the eve of election day. Nik Aziz, Haron Din and Hadi hammered in the last message to the people of this constituency. They managed to convince most Malays into disbelieving the media and Saiful’s confession and swearing.
Many BN workers resigned much earlier, thinking that there is no hope for their candidate, Ariff. Their general perception is that Ariff is no match for Anwar. Anwar to them is more charismatic.
All campaigns will come to a stop in an hour’s time. Things have slowed down.
Through my random survey of opinions here, the verdict is going to be Anwar to win with a big majority, surpassing that of his wife in the 8 March by-election. Even most BN supporters feel the same. Those favouring the Opposition want a strong personality like Anwar to be in the parliament.
Some Umno supporters do not want to see a victory for Ariff; they even do not want a reduction of the majority votes for Anwar if he wins. They feel that this will be an endorsement for Pak Lah. These supporters are not in favour of Pak Lah leading Umno. Neither are some convinced with Najib. With this situation, Anwar will gain most when the votes are cast tomorrow. Good luck to Anwar and Ariff.
2245: Seven Hindraf supporters who were detained at a protest outside a temple here on Friday were released on police bail today.
2230: Traffic has slowed to a crawl on the main roads inside Seberang Jaya. A lot of people are out and about. Restaurants and eateries are crowded. I spot a couple of motorcyclists with PKR flags, and a car bearing a Pas flag. But no one seems to be flying the BN colours. It’s still drizzling here.
2145: I try to get to the Pakatan ceramah near Seberang Jaya along the old road to BM but the highway is jammed. It’s a wet night here on mainland Penang, but obviously thousands are still trying to get to the ceramah. Because it’s hopeless trying to get there, I turn back. But Aliran members-cum-bloggers Mustafa K Anuar and Susan Loone are already inside the ceramah site now with P Ramakrishnan and no doubt they will be providing you eye-witness coverage later tonight or tomorrow morning in their blogs. More than 10,000 people are at the ceramah now. Speakers include Guan Eng, Azmin, Gobalakrishnan and of course Anwar. The countdown to midnight begins!
1843: Blog reader Karma paints a picture of thoroughly demoralised BN supporters:
I can observe that the worst has happened to BN. BN supporters seem unhappy with the tactics used by their leaders to humiliate DSAI.
A Puteri Umno member groaned, “Habislah kita. Ustaz sendiri dah bongkar semua. Nampaknya kita buang masa di sini. Dah tak boleh buat apa-apa lagi.”
Another man wearing a cap with a BN logo said, “Dah kata awal-awal lagi. Orang dah tak percaya kita lagi. Saiful ni yang merosakkkan semua. Terlampau sangat dok cerita hal Saiful. Sekarang tengok apa dah terjadi.”
On the ground, supporters are in droves for DSAI. Any spot I went to, they say, “Give DSAI a chance. We want someone like Anwar to be in Parliament.”
The countdown has begun. BN supporters have given up. I don’t see very many BN supporters now in their posts. Many have left; some have even mingled with Pas and DAP supporters. Looks as if it’s going to be real tough for BN now.
Last night I could see thousands at DSAI’s ceramah. The BN’s desperate move to bring in Ezam to Permatang Pauh has backfired terribly. Ustaz Ramlan has brought the fence-sitters to DSAI’s side.
Again, Saiful was condemned by almost everyone I talked to. A pious-looking man in his 30s said, “Dulu saya undi calon BN; sekarang saya akan undi DSAI. Saya dan keluarga saya dah meluap dengan cara BN menggunakan Saiful … untuk memancing undi. Tengok pada sentimen orang di sini, Ariff akan hilang wang pertaruhannya. … Wang EPF orang pun tak boleh bayar (as alleged by PKR ceramah speakers). Kononnya buat PhD pula. Gaimana nak caya orang ni.”
After Ustaz Ramlan’s disclosure of what happened during Saiful’s swearing, the BN is finished. The SD on Najib’s (alleged) rituals is a big hit here. Almost everyone is talking. Looks as if the battle is more between DSAI and Najib, and Ariff is a lost man here. Najib has lost; that’s the perception of almost 90 per cent of the people here. Ariff is finished.
1824: Blogger Jude sends us this report:
One thing’s for sure – BN is running scared. … I’ve been observing and asking a few questions here and there.
Basically, the Chinese and Indians votes are secured. The urban Malay votes go to Anwar. The one problem area as far as Pakatan is concerned is that the rural Malay votes are somewhat 50-50. The older folks have known nothing but BN and religion plays a big part in their lives. And suddenly the alleged sodomy case is a concern for them.
But Pas has been doing some great support work. And the revelation by the imam last night regarding Saiful’s swearing upon the Qur’an – there has been a swing to Pakatan. Nik Aziz’s presence is another factor.
Traffic at Kubang Semang at 5.30pm is reduced to a crawl. Traffic police are manning all roads. Certain roads in BM have been cordoned off. You can hear and see the police and media helicopters on and off.
A stall-holder next to the Masjid Jamek told me: “Harap-harap kita dapat undi majoiriti 10-14,000 bang, 27 juta rakyat malaysia sedang menanti ini….
That about sums up the feelings of most locals for now. Will try and update later.
1811: Frankie from Seberang Jaya tells us that rumours are rife in the area:
Too many rumours circling around. I got a call from a friend asking me to check if it was true that the percentage now is at 60-40 with BN having the upper hand.
Then another friend told me he just came out from the PKR office in Sama Gagah. The doctor, an ex Gerakan guy, said that the news from the ground was not so good.
My accountant told me last Friday, an East Malaysian Chinese tycoon sponsored a 35-table dinner at a reputable Chinese restaurant, promising to contribute RM2 million for the new Goddess of Mercy temple in Sbg Jaya if the BN wins. All this is hearsay.
My perception is that 80 per cent of non-Malay votes will go to PKR. The rest lies with the Malay votes: how they will swing, I don’t know.
As I write this, I can hear a helicopter flying in the sky above Seberang Jaya. Something is brewing. We are approaching the end game soon.
1633: Heard from a vet that many of his clients of all ethnic groups from around the Bukit Mertajam area are predicting an easy victory for Anwar. “People are just so fed up with all these accusations, swearings, and abuse of the media,” says the vet. He adds that some of these clients were pretty accurate with their predictions for the 8 March general election. The only way the majority can be reduced is if the election turns out to be dirty, he adds, but it won’t be easy for that to happen as many people will be watching.
1624: Travolta highlights a blog report on how certain people are collecting ICs from rural folks in Permatang Pauh:
Exposed: Identity cards being collected in Permatang Pauh from rural folks under the pretext of registering them for a “loan scheme”. The photo was said to have been taken inside a hall in front of the Politeknik Seberang Perai Photo credit: p99ampang.com More pictures here.
Please look at this link with pictures.
Based on YB Zuraida they collected ICs from rural folks for the “loan scheme” purpose.
Difahamkan penduduk kampung khususnya bagi pengundi Permatang Pauh mendapat peluang untuk mendapatkan pinjaman sebanyak RM3000 seorang selepas pilihan raya kecil Permatang Pauh. Disamping itu dikatakan mereka yang hadir untuk mendapatkan skim … ini juga mendapat RM50 seorang bagi tujuan pengangkutan. (…untuk mempengaruhi pengundi? )
Namun syaratnya mereka perlu menyerahkan kad pengenalan mereka dan juga membuat semakan pengundian untuk mendapatkan pinjaman tersebut.
1558: Blog reader Frankie, reporting from Seberang Jaya, cautions readers against assuming that Anwar has an easy ride.
I live and work in Seberang Jaya. This morning I noticed quite a substantial number of cars and SUVs with PRK/Pas flags roaming the street. At about noon, I saw an entourage of vehicles with PKR flags nearby Sunway Carnival Mall at Seberang Jaya. I suspected DSAI was somewhere nearby. Couldn’t help noticing the vehicles with outstation registration. All of them have the PKR or Pas logos.
One thing I noticed was the poster wars are mostly in visible areas and in kampungs. Nearby my office, the residential taman which houses the middle- to upper-income families, I did not notice any posters or billboards and we are talking about more than 150 houses in that taman. No PR or BN posters or signboards; it is as if there is no by election even though this taman is located in the Ptg Pauh constituency.
I spoke to a Kemas officer this morning from Negri Sembilan who has been stationed here in its Sbg Jaya office for the past one week about the chances of BN capturing the seat. Despite the confidence expressed by most people about PKR, he told me the BN stands a good chance; 50-50 was the answer given, and that was with a confident expression which took me aback. He must have known something we don’t know.
So listen guys, cut the crap about the big majority win by DSAI; something is brewing that the rest of the crowd is missing. We can’t take the victory for DSAI for granted…
1525: Another update from Muhammad Firdaus:
You informer is absolutely correct, correct, correct! I bumped into some rather nice folks who kept on enquiring where I was from (I definitely look like an outsider) and they told me the same thing. In fact, there are also “bookies” going around the coffee shops, kampungs seeking betters and from I’m hearing, these guys sound and look like BN/Umno…
Out of ~ 30 folks I’ve met thus far, there are only a miserable two that think BN would win. For the rest of the 28, they do not believe a word about the sodomy allegations and (they feel) that BN/Umno has ruined the country. The keep on saying that they are “cukup matang” and will ensure DSAI’s victory.
1453: Just received a phone call from a colleague. He met someone from Permatang Pauh, who claimed that certain people are going around giving odds of 1 to 100 that Anwar would lose the by-election, which means if you pay RM1 you stand to gain RM100 if Anwar loses. I have no way of verifying this at the moment or how this may affect the actual voting.
1427: Muhammad Firdaus Christopher sends us this update:
Hello Anil and ardent readers,
After dropping some ideas to Haris, Din and PKR Rozi this morning about erecting giant screens around Permatang Pauh, Permatang Pasir, Penanti and Seberang Jaya areas this evening, telecasting the declaration by Imam Ramlang, I made my way to Ground Zero with my comrades to distribute pamphlets of the same to villagers at the coffee and sundry shops. Understand that VCDs are also currently being burned and distributed to every household in the area.
I will continue to report once we settle down after our well deserved lunch break.
Cheers & Salam Reformasi.
1411: An anonymous blog reader shares with us this video clip:
1347: Crotalus shares this lil report:
‘They’ are currently using the ‘TEKUN Nasional’ program as a gimmick to buy votes. Easy loan application, only one requirement needed. Applicants must pay RM15 to join the ‘you-know-which’ political party as a member.
You can check it out, the booth is set up at just beside the Petronas petrol station located opposite the Seberang Prai Polytechnic. There is quite a crowd over there. It started since last night, and still continuing today.
In another matter, for those who are interested in joining the heat tonight…head over to the Esso petrol station located at Seberang Jaya’s Jalan Tenggiri at 8.00pm tonight. PR will be holding a ‘count-down to Parliament’ gathering for Anwar.
0224: Blog reader Ah Pek BM, the MCA life member, reports:
Just back from four hours of visiting all the BN and PKR stations; it’s true that almost 95 per cent of BN stations seem abandoned except the Trengganu Umno centre with their workers sitting, looking lost and exhausted.
PKR stations have definitely captured huge crowds especially the locals who were grouping there, with video speeches playing. Very motivated PKR workers busy working under the rain and high spirited; morale is definitely boosted.
The Melaka PKR group of ladies and children were really enjoying themselves under the bus stand, waving and shouting along the roadside, a jovial group. I smiled and wave back at them.
The traffic crawl along Tanah Liat to BM town was worse than the peak Bukit Bintang jam. My car could only move at 3km per hr. Most surprising was that I keep seeing cars, trucks and vans with PKR, Pas and DAP flags but NOT a single BN vehicle.
I sense something must be DEFINITELY WRONG here in Permatang Pauh – just can’t figure out what happened to the BN workers. …
My estimate is that a significant portion of Malay voters were strongly influenced by the Pas onslaught last few nights.
There is a free dinner by the MCA BM group at about 7.00pm in a Chinese association but there isn’t any crowd.
0010: I receive a text message telling me of claims of Mat Rempit riding into villages with PKR and DAP flags. It is not clear if they are actually PR supporters or Umno.