Full house at DAP ceramah
Soon Li Tsin | Feb 26, 08 1:24pm
What do you get when you put three political rookies together on a stage next to a bustling night market?
A political rally so loud that the words, cheers and applause bounced right off the walls disrupting traffic.
This was the scene at the SS2 night market yesterday when the Petaling Jaya DAP team took the stage to address voters in the area.
Malaysiakini spoke to several people who attended and most said they came to listen to PJ Utara (PJU) parliamentary candidate Tony Pua (right) speak.
PJU voter SY Wong, 40, said it was her first time at a ceramah and thought Pua would make a fairly decent MP because he seems "intelligent and credible".
"I want my MP to be intelligent and to talk about issues I am concerned with. Things like crime is definitely an issue," the accountant said.
She noted that PJU would be an interesting fight because Pua is up against incumbent Barisan Nasional's Chew Mei Fun who was "pretty good herself".
Another resident in the area, Karamjit Singh, 42, said he had always voted for BN but would vote for DAP for the first time in the coming general election.
"I'm disillusioned over BN's promise to fight against corruption and our security is at stake. All this affects the competitiveness of the nation and it directly affects out children's future," said the father of two.
A government servant and voter from Sabah who stood on the sidelines appeared captivated when Kampung Tunku state seat candidate Lau Weng San spoke,
Describing her first time attendance at a ceramah as an eye-opener, the 25-year-old civil servant said: "It is interesting because I get to know things like what the government has done that goes unreported in the newspapers."
Another PJU voter who identified himself only as Ong, 46, said he came to the ceramah with an open mind to hear what the speakers had to say.
"If you look at the official media, we would never get this. I would like to listen to opposition voices since they had been deprived of a chance to speak out.
"This is the only way voters could make an informed choice. These ceramahs serve a purpose and people migh be swayed by them to a certain extent," he said.
Good for fence-sitters
Johor voter Brian Fernandez, 37, said the ceramah are informative and it would help fence-sitters make up their minds.
"For fence-sitters, it would help but for people like me who have decided already, I'm just here to listen," he said.
Asked what issues he was concerned with, he replied: "Crime, Islamisation, Malay-isation, corruption and lack of national unity."
"The past three years have helped shaped my political views. BN made many promises then but the prime minister (Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) had not fulfilled any of the major ones.
"He has not madea for all," he said.
The crowd of about 200 had gathered when newcomer Dr Cheah Wing Yin who was the Damansara Utama state seat candidate spoke about making local councils accountable.
The crowd swelled to about 500 when guest speaker lawyer Haris Ibrahim took the stage and drew applause after almost every sentence as he called for equality and an end to racial politics.
Next was Lau who presented a bilingual speech highlighting crime and corruption being the main focus of DAP's campaign.
The much-anticipated Pua then charmed the crowd with his wit and toothy smile as he pointed how the country's economy is ailing and the quality of Malaysian education dwindling compared to our neighbours.
By then the crowd spilled over to the nearby parking lot, hundreds packed into the tiny corner of SS2 awaiting DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang to arrive.
When he did, the atmosphere was almost concert-like as the DAP election campaign song 'Just Change' blared from the huge speakers and the crowd clamoured to shake Lim's hand.
It was DAP's night at the SS2 corner as the voices echoed across the buildings with a single message - it is time for change.
Daripada Abu Umarah iaitu al-Bara' bin 'Azib radhiallahu anhuma, katanya: "Kita semua diperintah oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. untuk melakukan tujuh perkara, iaitu meninjau orang sakit, mengikuti janazah, menentasymitkan orang yang bersin, menolong orang yang lemah, membantu orang yang teraniaya, meratakan salam dan melaksanakan sumpah."