12 January 2013

‘Countdown’ HKR di Kelab Sultan Sulaiman...

Sejarah tercatat pada malam tadi apabila 74 penceramah daripada pelbagai latar belakang berucap di Countdown Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat di padang Kelab Sultan Sulaiman, Kampung Baru malam tadi.

Sama ada dari kalangan pemimpin politik mahupun pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO), mereka senada menyeru rakyat membuat perubahan untuk menukar tampuk pemerintah negara pada Pilihan Raya Umum ke-14 nanti.

 People gather at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman,Kampung Baru, ahead of tomorrow’s People Uprising Rally in Kuala Lumpur January 11, 2013. – Picture by Choo Choy May

Pada jam 2.00 petang nanti, para peserta himpunan akan berkumpul di Stadium Merdeka.-harakahdaily

 Leaders of Non-Govermental Organisations gather at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman,Kampung Baru, ahead of tomorrow’s People Uprising Rally in Kuala Lumpur January 11, 2013. – Picture by Choo Choy May

 UMNO-BN "sour grapes" fail to thwart rally...

IT'S ALL SYSTEMS GO for the #KL112 or Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat rally, which will take place at the Stadium Merdeka on Saturday as planned despite an 11th-hour attempt by the police to get the organizers to to shift to another venue in Bukit Jalil.

Eight routes have been planned for rally supporters to meet at - Amcorp Mall in Petaling Jaya; Masjid Arrahman in UM; Brickfields; KLCC; Kelab Sultan Sulaiman; Pasar Seni; Jalan Sultan and Masjid Negara.

Pakatan Rakyat leaders, many of whom stayed up until way past midnight last night, to sort out the details are expecting a "monster crowd".


"Yes, Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang and Hadi Awang will be up there on the main stage with the NGOs but this is actually a show by our civil society and activists - the anti-Lynas group, the oil royalty group, BERSIH, the free education and mother-tongue activists - to go national with their messages and demands for reform. It is not a political rally," Rafizi Ramli, the PKR strategy director told Malaysia Chronicle.

"For us, we want to show that if we win GE13, this is the type of environment we want to offer Malaysians - an open and responsible society where the people are free to engage with each other, civil society with government, poltiicians, police, the authorities peacefully and civilly. Not like now where the government actively indulges in scare-mongering its own citizens, where the people have to live in fear and dare not speak up because they are afraid to offend the Umno-BN big shots."


A monster crowd and wiser police force?

The PKR leader does not expect a repeat of last year's BERSIH 3.0 where the demonstrators were beaten up and brutalized by the police. He points to a late night statement issued by the police that had riled up rally supporters.

 People gather at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman,Kampung Baru, ahead of tomorrow’s People Uprising Rally in Kuala Lumpur January 11, 2013. – Picture by Choo Choy May

"If you look at the 'body language' of the statement, it's like the police telling Umno, OK you asked us to stop it and we tried. But that's it. There is no order at all to the organisers to move to Bukit Jalil or anywhere else. The police have become smarter. This time, they agreed to sign in black and white with the organisers all the terms and conditions. They cannot U-turn, they have pledged to guard the safety of the people as they should in the first place. So even though there may be provocateurs and gung-ho Umno ruffians out to spoil our day, I am confident the police can stay on top of things."

Indeed, the police were made scapegoats for orders believed to have been put out by Prime Minister Najib Razak and his cousin, Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein, that ended up with brutal attacks on the BERSIH demonstrators. The protest for free and fair elections was a disaster for the police who took a huge battering in their image and are still trying to regain the confidence of the people.

 Peserta yang sedang berhimpun di Kelab Sultan Sulaiman Kampung Baru tekun mendengar ucapan wakil pelbagai parti yang akan turut serta ke perhimpunan aman esok. — Gambar oleh Choo Choo May

Sour grapes

On Thursday night, Kuala Lumpur police chief Mohmad Salleh threw a spanner into the works when he said that the rally should be shifted to the Bukit Jalil Stadium, which has a seating capacity of 100,000 compared to Stadium Merdeka's 30,000.

“In view of the organiser’s goal of gathering one million participants, it is logical to hold the rally at Stadium Nasional Bukit Jalil,” Mohamad Salleh had said in his statement.

The police chief's comments were immediately panned by the rally organizers and supporters, who have been planing and looking forward to Saturday's peaceful assembly.

 People gather at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman,Kampung Baru, ahead of tomorrow’s People Uprising Rally in Kuala Lumpur January 11, 2013. – Picture by Choo Choy May

"This is pure sour grapes. We already have an agreement with the police, what we have to comply with and what the police need to carry. To shoot off a late statement like that is bad faith and typifies the Umno-BN culture of not being able to keep its word," PKR MP for Batu Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

"Maybe some of the Umno-BN hardcore right wing are having cold feet, but this will only reflect badly on them. Just like in Bersih 3.0, where DBKL was used to create trouble over the Dataran Merdeka venue and and in Bersih 2.0 where Prime Minister Najib Razak disgraced himself reneging on his earlier agreement to let the protesters use Stadium Merdeka."


In black and white

Tian's views were corroborated by PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, who pointed out that an agreement with the police had been reached and even inked, with both parties agreeing to the event venue and certain security conditions posed on rally organisers.

“No police order issued asking us to move. I have spoken to the Dang Wangi OCPD (officer in charge of a police district) and it was a good discussion, and everything is in order. Our assembly will be at Stadium Merdeka,” Mat Sabu was reported as saying by the Malaysian Insider.
Historic rally

Saturday's rally due to begin at 2.00pm and end at 5.00pm will see the involvement of the country's top civil society movements which have been pushing for various demands through the years.

Rally organisers target a turnout of one million people at the rally which is expected to be coloured by the BERSIH's signature yellow, the anti-Lynas' flourescent green, the Pakatan Rakyat women's purple and so forth.

Police had on Tuesday pledged to facilitate the mammoth event, which the Pakatan Rakyat helped to organize and have in turn promised to ensure that it would be peaceful.

"Not to worry, we will stick by the rules very closely. There should not be trouble as the police have already promised to control the crowd, which is their job in the first place. So feel free to come. It will be a very historic occassion," said Tian.-malaysian chronicle





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