On Sunday night, during Anwar’s ceramah in Seberang Jaya, I ran into Abdul Malik Abul Kassim, the PKR assembly member for Batu Maung, Abdul Malik Abul Kassim. He told me that Pakatan Rakyat had made an unprecedented decision earlier that day.
“We (the Pakatan) are going into this campaign with one machinery, one director of operations and one operations room,” he said, adding that this would be “the first time the three parties in the coalition are doing this”.
This report from the Malay Mail:
Anwar draws a crowdBy A. Netto August 04, 2008 Categories: News SEBERANG JAYA: Among the more than 10,000 crowd estimated at the Seberang Jaya Expo site last night for the kickoff of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s unofficial campaign for the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat were environmentalists Don Theseira and Mylene Ooi.
Their reason? “The present government is not taking the recycling of household waste seriously enough,” both said, adding they had come to see Anwar because his views deserved to be heard.
“And the problem (of household waste) is getting worse by the day. We are part of the solution and it (the Barisan Nasional government) is part of the problem,” said Theseira.
Businessman Shohat i Kassim, 52, said he turned up because he was curious to hear if Anwar would indicate whom he thought would contest against him. “I also wanted to listen to what he had to say about the sodomy allegation.”
There were varying estimations among reporters as to the crowd at the gathering, which began at 9pm and ended shortly after 11pm.
They ranged from 8,000 to as much as 20,000 — “if one includes those in the kilometre-long traffic snarls approaching the venue”. For the first time, residents of Permatang Pauh witnessed the large scale “bazaar” that is common at ceramah held in Kuala Lumpur.
Among the speakers were Anwar’s wife and outgoing MP Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng.
Addressing the crowd, Anwar reiterated his pledge that if Pakatan Rakyat came to power, he would reduce the price of oil the very next day by 70 sen instead of the 50 sen he had mentioned earlier because of the drop in the global price of oil.
He also expressed uncertainty over how the election campaign would unfold. “I am not sure if I will be free to campaign, whether I will be in the lock-up or not. But I know I will be allowed to contest in the by-election.”
Responding to criticism that Wan Azizah had disappointed voters by stepping down for him, Anwar clarified that she had actually told voters during her election campaign that she would step aside as soon as he was allowed to re-enter electoral politics.
Lim, who is also Penang Chief Minister, said the byelection would be important as Permatang Pauh represents Malaysia.
“We are not just determining our fate, but the fate of all Malaysians,” he said.
Both Anwar and Lim paid tribute to Wan Azizah. On the sidelines, the PKR assemblyman for Batu Maung, Abdul Malik Abul Kassim, told Malay Mail that Pakatan Rakyat had made an unprecedented decision.
“We (the Pakatan) are going into this campaign with one machinery, one director of operations and one operations room”he said, adding that this would be “the first time the three parties in the coalition are doing this”.
Abdul Malik, who is also the Penang executive councillor in charge of domestic trade and consumer affairs, added: “We hope this first effort together will enhance long-term cooperation among the parties.”
He also said that Pakatan Rakyat had set a 20,000-vote majority target for Anwar, which would improve on Wan Azizah’s winning margin of 13,388 votes in the March general election.