LIVE: Vast PKR multitude overwhelms BN crowd

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PKR supporters dance in the middle of a sea of humanity to the beat of Indian drums

1215: And then, the heavens open, drenching the high-spirited crowds. “Hujan keramat (showers of blessings)!,” shouts one PKR supporter, looking up into the sky, as FRU personnel lining the road look on, blankly. I count 13 police trucks on my way out after dashing for shelter under one of the many stalls along the main road. Among those spotted in the crowd by others are Raja Petra, Rais Yatim,  and Ezam.

1145: It’s a three-corned fight, with the third candidate coming from Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim), which is said to be a Pas splinter group, set to play a spoiler’s role. All objections have been rejected. A huge roar erupts when Anwar’s name is announced. The Indian drumming group and dancers are now back in action livening up the atmosphere further. Thunder rolls in the sky as if to accompany the beat. It is threatening to rain.

Earlier, the Pakatan crowd were chanting “Al-tan-tu-ya!” in the open field at the BN supporters.

A PKR Chinese drumming group also performed as an appreciative, largely Malay crowd snapped photos.

Blog reader Muhammad Firdaus Christopher comments:

Syukur Alhamdulillah, Datuk Seri has started his journey towards being our 6th Prime Minister and the show begins tonight. For the record, I was there since 7.00am until about 11.45am and Masya Allah, I have never seen ever the thunderous and huge supporters of Pakatan Rakyat (PKR, DAP, PAS) bestowing in Penanti/ Permatang Pauh. I strongly believe and estimate the crowd of supporters ranging between 90,000 – 110,000. I am speechless…

Love live DSAI and lets us all work extra hard to ensure that his first step into Parliament happens on the 26th August when we cast our votes.

1100: My researcher friend has revised his estimate of the Pakatan crowd to 70,000 – and I tend to agree with him, more or less. But another PKR supporter says it exceeds 100,000 as there are still a lot of people further away.

READ MORE:  Sabah state election updates

Anwar has received three or four objections to his candidacy from the BN side, while PKR has not filed any objections against the BN’s Arif Shah.

On the BN side of the field nearby, Umno supporters have unfurled a banner: “Jangan pandang belakang” – a none-too-subtle innuendo.

A senior PKR woman party official from KL tells me that 20 buses of PKR supporters have come from Bangsar while a dozen have come from Cheras. A Sabahan, for his part, says about 100 Sabahans are also here “to learn” from what is going on.

One Permatang Pauh voter predicts Anwar will win with a 15,000-majority but the woman PKR official says it doesn’t matter what his majority is as long as he is back in Parliament.

1030: The sun is blazing down and it is getting hot – in more ways than one. BN supporters are being given a “hot” reception. PKR supporters are lining their paths, jeering vociferously and taunting them by waving one ringgit and ten ringgit notes in front of them. The loudest jeers are reserved for dark or black cars that may be carrying high-ranking BN officials. Police are keeping a watchful eye while riot police have separated supporters with partitions in the field further away.

“It’s like a festival,” says an elderly Indian gentleman, though the BN supporters can’t be enjoying it too much. In fact, it must be rather intimidating for them to walk through such a crowd.

Malay PKR supporters are chanting Makkal Sakthi whenever they spot Indian Pakatan supporters. They respond with broad grins.

0955: A PKR supporter, seeing me on the laptop, walks up to me and asks me for my estimate of the crowd size.

I tell him I have been getting reports that it is around 30,000 to 50,000, some saying even 100,000 and over.

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“Impossible,” he responds, “it is much bigger than that. My friend is still stuck 3.5km away in traffic trying to get here.”

I ask him for his estimate of the crowd size.

“That’s not for me to say. I just want you to be fair and give a realistic figure.”

I press him again for his estimate.

“250,000,” he responds.

Earlier, a Pas supporter next to me put the figure at 50,000.

Who can tell for sure? I wish I was in one of those helicopters above.

Blog reader Frankie sends us this report:

Early this morning, at 7.00 am, I can see the police helicopter flying throughout the area of Permatang Pauh and I can already sense this is going to be a different peaceful morning that Permatang Pauh is used to. Come 7.50 am, I drove out heading to the Seberang Jaya roundabout, I can see PKR and Pas supporters heading to the BKE expressway. I did see a bus ferrying PAS supporters stopping over at Subbaidah nasi kandar for breakfast before proceeding and I can see all the traffic lights surrounding area have standby traffic cops.

Hold on to your seat, it is showtime.

0905: Now let’s talk about the crowd size. A researcher friend of mine who has positioned himself in the BN side of the field nearby estimates that the BN supporters do not exceed 5,000. “There’s still a lot of space in the field here,” he tells me. “I can even run the 100 metres here!”

He adds that the slogan chanting, led by Puteri Umno, has become rather personal. “Liwat tetap liwat!” they chant and “Anwar kaki buntut!”

Over at the Pakatan side, the researcher tells me the crowd is probably in the range of 30,000, though some PKR supporters are estimating 100,000 to 150,000. The truth is no one can say for sure as the area is chocker-block with people.

READ MORE:  Is there something afoot?

0855: A sea of people with Pakatan flags and banners continue to overwhelm the crowd of a few thousand BN supporters. I bump into bloggers Haris Ibrahim and Zorro and they are in high spirits. I ask Haris for his estimate of the crowd. “”It’s unbelievable,” says Haris. “I dare not even estimate the size of the crowd.”

In fact, the crowds are flowing in from all directions. Two police helicopters are now circling overhead surveying the crowds below – so that tells you something.

Earlier, Pakatan bystanders were teasing the BN crowd walking in and mocking them. As a group of BN women walked by under a BN banner with pictures of Abdullah and Najib, someone from the roadside greeted them: “Selamat pagi, datin-datin hadhari.” Another taunts them, “How much did they pay you to attend this?”

0815: Greetings from near the Nomination Day centre here at Institut Maktab Perguruan Tengku Bainun in Penanti, where there’s a huge crowd of PKR supporters along the Penanti exit of the Butterworth-Kulim expressway.

It’s a festive atmosphere here – notwithstanding half a dozen FRU trucks on standby and a police chopper clattering overhead.

Indian PKR supporters are dancing on the road leading to the nomination accompanied by drummers.

Other PKR supporters have removed a banner from a flyover, purportedly put up by Pas supporters urging Pas to boycott the by-election. “These are dirty tricks,” a PKR supporter muttered as he took down the banner.

About a dozen Indian women clad in beige saris, donning BN caps, make their way among the throng of PKR supporters.

DAP supporters are also making their presence felt with rocket flags in evidence here and there.

I spot PKR’s Gobalakrishnan wearing an Anwar mask. These Anwar masks are selling like hot cakes.

But BN supporters are conspicuous by their absence. Where exactly are they? Let me go and look for them!

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karma
karma
4 Oct 2009 2.22pm

Great for Pakatan. Looks likely that. This excitement is happening in Negeri Sembilan. It only shows that the wind of change is felt throughout Malaysia. Pakatnn is gaining the momentum.

ultraman
ultraman
19 Aug 2008 2.56pm

BN rasuah , zalim ,fitnah ,penipu , …. penindas, hipokrit ,pelakon sandiwara,diktator

Liam Chee Keong
Liam Chee Keong
19 Aug 2008 3.58am

Saiful …. swear in a mosque and holding a koran, the way saiful sits also look like saddam hussein sitting hahahaha looks like the re-make of Saddam Hussein the Early Years…. aiya even saddam hussien swears 5 times a day in the biggest mosque in Iraq but it is well known that he murdered thousands of iraqis during his rule. so do you think that Najib can match Saddam Hussien in Swearing huh? no way man!! I would like to suggest that Saiful use his … wealth… to help the poor, maybe donate some money to the poor-what’s the point… Read more »

Param
Param
18 Aug 2008 11.37am

Hi Anil,
Great coverage!!!
The new dawn has rise…..keep going. Lets celebrate our new Malaysia Day after DSAI become PM on 16 Sept….I will only raise the flag after DSAI become PM.

Phua Kai Lit
Phua Kai Lit
18 Aug 2008 8.43am

Hello ICtrick 4:35 pm

Thank you for your best wishes from Singapore.

Here’s one in return:

PAP loses 2/3 majority in the next Singapore General Election!

(Here’s to popular democracy in both Malaysia and Singapore!)

Phua Kai Lit
Phua Kai Lit
18 Aug 2008 8.00am

Yes!

The Malaysian Rainbow Nation!
Power to the People!

Truth Seeker
Truth Seeker
17 Aug 2008 11.41am

ANWAR, ARE YOU A VISIONARY LEADER??? DSAI, Are you someone with a vision burning inside that seeks to manifest? Do you see yourself as a visionary? Visionary leaders are the builders of a new dawn, working with imagination, insight, and boldness. They present a challenge that calls forth the best in people and brings them together around a shared sense of purpose. They work with the power of intentionality and alignment with a higher purpose. Their eyes are on the horizon, not just on the near at hand. They are social innovators and change agents, seeing the big picture and… Read more »

Baronshah
Baronshah
17 Aug 2008 10.19am

Looking at the pics of PKR supporters, the BN\UMNOputras would have got an inkling of what to expect come 26th August 2008.

Best of the best to you DSAI in your quest which I hope you WILL succeed with the BLESSINGS of the ALL MIGHTY.

nguyen
nguyen
17 Aug 2008 12.18am

DSAI, all the best of luck from Vietnam. Vietnam is behind you. May Malaysia truly experience true democracy

Scott
Scott
16 Aug 2008 10.03pm

Congrats Anwar Ibrahim! Congrats Pakatan Rakyat!Even TDM also mentioned that Arif Shah can’t win DSAI!! Thats the fact proven since 1985. I hope my uncle, Guan Eng can help bust more dirty BN tactics in Penang and Selangor regarding this by-election. Lets the BN ashamed of themselves. Lets send the Altantuya murderers to rot in hell!!!No holes….oops(holds) barred. “It sounds like i may win, it smells like i may win, but it may not be me who win(as my opponents have more Malaysians support)…..i am gonna cry if i lost the election…..”BN. BN’s common typo error 1)”Liwat tetap liwat” by… Read more »

Penang chabo
Penang chabo
16 Aug 2008 9.00pm

it’s funny how the mainstream papers are DEATHLY SILENT about the show of support … 😉

Superpoorman
Superpoorman
16 Aug 2008 7.58pm

I am a voter in Seberang Jaya, a Chinese-speaking Bangsa Malaysia. Our community stands firmly behind DSAI for Parliament, just like in all the previous GEs, when we voted for Wan Azizah. Arif Shah has already got a state seat and should be contended. We shall not give him the Parliament this time. Being a small timer he is just not cut out for Parliament (we don’t give a damn if he can speak Hokkien in KL). Rest assured Anwar will receive our Chinese votes.

For a new dawn on 26/8/08!

kram
kram
16 Aug 2008 6.10pm

Anil,
Thanks so much for the updates.
There are many like me here in Kuala Lumpur who are eagar to be up there with you guys.

So your “live updates” really really helps for us to participate in spirit.

In fact, you bloggers should set up a fund so we can contribute to help offset some of the expenses you guys have to spend on your activities.

Thanks again.

Antares
16 Aug 2008 5.48pm

Fabulous report from ground zero, Anil! Thanks very much for giving folks like me a taste of the excitement around Anwar’s re-entry into formal politics when he becomes Opposition Leader. That should inspire lots of scaredy-cats to turn into nation-saving frogs! Come on, you holdbacks from MCA, MIC, Gerakan, PPP – and all our friends over in Sabah and Sarawak – SEIZE THE DAY! IT’S NOW OR NEVER… UMNO/BN CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE AS THE GOVERNMENT!!!

Kenny Gan
Kenny Gan
16 Aug 2008 4.49pm

The EC has certainly committed a disgusting partisan act by putting polling day on a working day. Making a round trip back from the work place to vote is just too impractical.

But despite this, voter turnout can be encouraged by telling voters to VOTE FIRST before going to work. Factories and companies must accept late arrivals without penalty on Aug 26 for their staff and workers. Bus Kilang from Permatang Pauh should be re-scheduled.

Anil, please spread the word around.

Ictrick
Ictrick
16 Aug 2008 4.35pm

Halo Malaysian;
WE THE CITIZEN OF SINGAPORE CONGRAT DSAI FOR THE BEST SUPPORT AND CROWD HE RECVD IN PERMATANG PAUH.!!!KEEP IT UP MALAYSIANNNNN.

rajraman666
rajraman666
16 Aug 2008 4.30pm

wow
MAKKAL SAKTHI – u see Indian if united the others also will follows.

Puteri warlords – since when the became prince? – The JIHAD lady never teach the PUTERI WARLORDS manners.(ANYWAY THEY HAVE NO MANNERS SINCE … HIJACK FROM JIHAD TO $)

Put back ANWAR TO PUTERA JAYA- since PKR alots of INDIAN MP and YB around.(but keep a close watch on corruption MR.ANIL – THE CORRUPT BUSTER)

rajraman – hope i have a heli to loan u anil.I only have my favourite classic BMW.Penang Plate.

Crotalus
16 Aug 2008 4.18pm

Anil,

juz wondering, there got wi-fi coverage? Or you using your own wireless broadband service? If there is wi-fi available there, then this coming voting day will be nice for bloggers…but if there isn’t…
then I have to start looking for someone with maxis/celcom broadband service to pinjam use for a day…hohoho.

Devan
Devan
16 Aug 2008 4.10pm

just back from the nomination centre. It was a boost to see the huge crowd of PKR supporters….Indians , malays ,chinese all in the same PKR shirtss…flags etc…
Unlike BN ….umno,mic,mca and the ipp fellows in their pitiful red shirts…….SO RACIST and SPLIT into different races/groups ,trying to show they are unite…..Puuuuiiiii !!!!
Selangor MB was given a rousing welcome…..

chong
chong
16 Aug 2008 4.04pm

yes!!! permatang paus voter, the future of malaysia lies in your hand!

be brave and i believe in you!!!

hidup DSAI! hidup PR!

DJAMAL
DJAMAL
16 Aug 2008 3.46pm

From Jakarta to PKR and DSAI please lead Malaysia to a new political front clean and friendly government. Indonesian are with you together towards change from corrupted era to new bi reform nations

Kenny Gan
Kenny Gan
16 Aug 2008 3.31pm

The people want a new Malaysia! Anwar has given the people hope for an end to the corrupt BN regime. Let us take this huge crowd size for PR as an indicator of overwhelming victory for Anwar. Nothing can stop Anwar now! A new Malaysia ! A new Malaysia ! The hands of the masses untied A new Malaysia ! A new Malaysia ! We face the world together And no race is left behind. Wiping out corruption That has bled the country dry Repair our damaged institutions And bid the tyrants goodbye. A new Malaysia ! A new Malaysia… Read more »

Francis
Francis
16 Aug 2008 3.08pm

Just reach home in Butterworth.If the crowd were to be of any indication, I believe it’s because of MAKKAL SAKHTI(PEOPLE POWER) who are yearning for a reformation of MALAYSIA.They want a change in present government which had cause their livelihood to deteriorate due to vast practice of corruption.Many Malaysian were praying and hoping that ANWAR IBRAHIM and other leaders will bring Malaysia towards the glorious path.

sky
sky
16 Aug 2008 2.35pm

DSAI….you are only hope for Malaysia….
We here pray for NO Cheating…by Stupid BN

Your Chinese Supporter….Cheers

Jason
Jason
16 Aug 2008 2.15pm

LONG LIVE ANWAR IBRAHIM,,,he WILL DEFINEITELY WIN THE BY-ELECTION BY THRASHING ARIF SHAH. WE PRAY THAT ANWAR WINS AND A NEW DAWN FOR MALAYSIA BEGINS!!!!!