A day after the Umno general assembly concluded with the beating of war drums and vows to wrest back Pakatan Rakyat-held states, the federal opposition went on the offensive as well.
PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim, the star at a rally of 5,000 in Shah Alam last night, said Pakatan will not only defend Selangor, but improve its electoral performance in the state.
"(Prime Minister) Najib Abdul Razak said he wants to recapture Selangor (but) we tell him that he can keep dreaming about Selangor - and that we will capture Putrajaya," declared Anwar.
He picked apart Umno's Malay credentials which the party has attempted to project in the run-up to a looming general election.
"Do you believe that Umno defends the Malays? If they defend the Malays they would not sell Malay land.
“The last bastion of Malay land in Kuala Lumpur (is Kampung Baru). They (the government) wants to hand it over to (Federal Territories Minister) Raja Nong Chik under the Kampung Baru Development Act.”
Also present was DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang who moved to deflect Umno's relentless attacks on his party during the general assembly.
"They (Umno) have accused DAP of being anti-Islam. Is that true?" asked Lim, to which the crowd thundered: "No!"
He went on to list out the accusations levelled against his party by Umno, each time eliciting a roar of “No!”
Lim reiterated the party's acceptance of Islam as the religion of the federation, as well as the concept of the constitutional monarchy, a pledge that proved popular among the largely Malay crowd that cheered.
PAS president Hadi Awang poked fun at Umno delegates who had publicly backed a leader who is embroiled in National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal. The project was intended to be the primary domestic supplier of beef.
"Umno says ‘PAS diperkudakan’ (is being a mule of) DAP, but what is clear is Umno has memper-lembu-kan (made a fool of) the people. Horses are meant to go to war, but cows are meant for slaughter," he quipped.
'We have a good track record'
Aside from drowning out Umno’s election messages, Pakatan amoved to demonstrate its credential as a credible and competent government in Selangor.
"Since Pakatan took over the state, its revenue has increased significantly. But do you see Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim buying a diamond ring for his wife?” posed PKR deputy president Azmin Ali.
“Do you see him building a mansion like former Selangor Menteri Besar (Dr Mohd) Khir Toyo?".
Taking the stage, Khalid listed the welfare policies implemented to date and the state government’s prudence in managing finances.
"Selangor has a 'Jom Shopping' programme for senior citizens. We give them RM100 for shopping and the federal government tried to emulate us by giving out hampers to senior citizens.
"I've checked with my contacts in supermarkets. For every RM100 hamper that it gives out, the federal government spends RM200. In our programme if you're suppose to spend RM100 and you spend RM115, I will sack that officer immediately.”
The strongest statement was the fact that the rally was held in the middle of a major agriculture carnival organised by the state government.
As the nearby ferris wheel lit up the night and the bazaar bustled with customers, Pakatan leaders tried to make their point in Anwar's words: "We do not only govern, we strive for excellence."
Also present were PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and national laureate A Samad Said, accompanied by several exco members, state assemblypersons and MPs from Selangor.
Pakatan cabar Umno mara di S'gor, ikrar tawan Putrajaya