Monday, March 3, 2008

10,000 at indoor stadium to hear DAP, PKR speakers

"Dunya" reliefburden@yahoo.com.sg

10,000 at indoor stadium to hear DAP, PKR speakers
Athi Veeranggan | Mar 2, 08 8:06pm
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng took a swipe at the state's ruling party, Gerakan, for �dancing to Umno tune� if it selects Padang Kota incumbent assemblyperson Teng Chang Yeow to be the next Penang chief minister.
Speaking to a packed rally at the Han Chiang indoor stadium in Penang last night, he said if the speculation was true, it was clear that it was �big brother� Umno and not Gerakan that was in total control of Penang�s Barisan Nasional.
Political observers had noted that Gerakan acting president and outgoing Penang chief minister Dr Koh Tsu Koon had wanted Pulau Tikus state seat candidate and Gerakan vice-president Dr Teng Hock Nan, 62, as the next CM while Umno preferred Bukit Bendera incumbent MP Chia Kwang Chye, 58.
koh tsu koonHowever, speculation is rife that Koh (right) has bowed to Umno pressure, agreeing to appoint a third candidate as �a political compromise�. Thus, the younger Teng emerging as the frontrunner in the race for the coveted post.
"Gerakan could not decide on their own leader so Umno decided for them. Teng Chang Yeow will be a de facto Umno chief minister," Guan Eng told a cheering crowd.
Lim then hit out at BN component parties such as Gerakan, MCA and MIC for `kowtowing' to Umno's hegemony.
"Do you want a DAP elected representative who can stand up and fight against Umno�s political hegemony or those who bow to it?" he asked, prompting the crowd to start chanting �DAP, DAP...�
Judging from the size of the crowd at this DAP-PKR joint rally, the general election heat is reaching a fever pitch on the island with just five days left to polling on Saturday.
More than 10,000 people from all races braved a heavy downpour to flood the 5,000-capacity indoor stadium to listen to the DAP and PKR speakers who included Anwar Ibrahim and Karpal Singh. The size of the crowd made this the biggest rally organised by BN�s opponents in Penang thus far.
Turnout not a guarantee
Guan Eng said he thought that Penang voters were not too keen on the opposition due to the low attendance registered at DAP rallies over the past week.
"I thought Penangites were not interested. But now I know you are with us to initiate changes in the country's system of governance," he said.
Anwar (below), who spoke earlier, told voters that they had no choice but to vote for Barisan Alternatif to safeguard their future.
anwar ceramah in rembau 150208 anwar"The imminent hike in oil prices and other essential household items will eat into your pockets while the ruling elite will continue with their luxury lifestyles.
"Do you want a government which does not care a bit for the people or the good governance of Barisan Alternatif which will protect and enhance the people's rights, interests and benefits," he said to wild cheers from the crowd.
The crowd�s enthusiasm for the opposition speakers was clearly evident judging by their frequent interruptions of the speeches to cheer and clap each time a speaker either drove home a point on justice, freedom and democracy or took a swipe at BN for corruption and disorientated policies.
If the crowd's vocal support were to be translated into votes on March 8, observers note it would not be an exaggeration to say that the opposition would win big at the polls.
However, electoral history has showed - especially after DAP's Tanjung 3 campaign in 1995 which drew mammoth crowds - that large turnouts at opposition ceramah in Penang did not necessarily translate into votes.
Whether or not DAP and PKR have finally caught the imagination of voters here still remains to be seen.
It would not be a shock if Penang voters, predominantly Chinese, were to ignore the opposition and support BN. "They have done it before and they can do it again," said a DAP local leader.
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DAP: Threat leads to ceramah cancellation
Tony Thien | Mar 3, 08
A DAP ceramah in support of its candidate Voon Lee Shan for the Stampin parliamentary seat was forced to be called off last night at the last minute after the PAS system contractor was allegedly threatened.
"About two hours before the cemerah was scheduled to start at 7pm (at Kota Padawan, about 16km out of Kuching City) gangsters threatened our PA system people, warning they would smash up their equipment," state DAP secretary and Kota Sentosa state assemblyperson Chong Chieng Jen told Malaysiakini.
He said the PA system contractor grew scared and withdrew. "It was then too late for us to find a substitute, so the ceramah had to be called off."
chong chieng jenChong, who is defending his Bandar Kuching parliamentary seat, was due to speak at the ceramah together with the party's candidate for Stampin and another party leader.
He said Voon, 62, who is also the state assemblyperson for Batu Lintang (one of three state constituencies in Stampin) lodged a police report on the spot when the police turned up on being informed of what had happened.
Voon himself is a former senior police officer before he retired and took up legal practice and entered politics.
BN-SUPP's Yong Khoon Seng, now into his fourth term, is defending the seat. He is the also Works Ministry parliamentary secretary and a Supp vice president. He was not immediately available for comment.
Feeling the heat
Meanwhile, Chong pointed the finger at SUPP supporters, describing it as a sign that DAP rivals were feeling the heat.
He also expressed disappointment that although the enforcement unit from the Election Commission turned up after being informed, an officer said there was nothing much she could do as her job was only to make sure a police permit had been obtained for the ceramah.
Stampin is a three-cornered fight involving also PKR's See Chee How.
In a PKR ceramah last night, PKR chief Dominique Ng also lashed out at Chong for refusing to work together with PKR.
Observers said the split in opposition votes will be advantageous to BN's Yong.
However, they are also not ruling out an upset because of some discernible trend in urban voting following the results of the last state elections in May 2004.
In the state elections, the opposition took all but one of the five Chinese-majority seats in Kuching - DAP three (Pending, Batu Lintang and Kota Sentosa) and PKR one (Padungan).
The BN managed to keep Batu Kawah which has a large number of non-Chinese voters.
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Koh fails to stop - just looks and goes
Athi Veeranggan | Mar 3, 08
Gerakan acting president Dr Koh Tsu Koon passed up an opportunity to stop and listen to protesters when he whizzed past a demonstration in Sungai Jawi, Seberang Perai, yesterday.

More than 200 residents had been protesting against the Barisan Nasional (BN) since 10am, for failing to expand a Tamil school in Valdor despite an appeal dating back 20 years.

Carrying banners and placards, they were chanting anti-BN slogans when Koh passed the area in his four-wheel drive about 11am.

They shouted for him to stop and hear them out, but Koh - contesting his first parliamentary seat in Batu Kawan which covers the Valdor area - ignored the calls and drove on by.

Minutes later, his DAP rival P Ramasamy as well as PKR Bukit Tambun state candidate Law Choo Kiang dropped by. They agreed to take up the matter with the relevant authorities after the general election.

The protest drew support from passing motorists and curious onlookers.

When police arrived at about 11.30am in a four-wheel drive, the protesters refused to disperse. Personnel wearing helmets and wielding batons then took up position in front of them.

However, the residents stood firm, telling the police to understand their predicament and to allow them to continue with their protest. Following pleas by several police officers, they dispersed at about noon.

�We cannot allow them to hold a protest illegally,� explained an officer, who advised the residents to obtain a permit in future.

Retorted a resident: �We will apply for a permit, but will the police issue one for us to protest against the BN? We want a new school for our children, not a police permit to hold demonstration.�

�No more patience�

SRJK (T) Valdor Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) chairperson N Tiagarajan said some 500 residents have lost patience with �incompetent� BN leaders at state and federal levels, saying they have not kept their promise to rebuild the school.

�These residents have been BN voters. Now they will vote for the opposition because they are fed up with BN for neglecting the Indians here,� he told reporters.

This was reflected in the Bahasa Malaysia and Tamil slogans on the placards, translated as:
� What happened to the promises made by Najib and Koh in 1997 and 2004?
� How many more elections do we have to wait?
� We will protest until the promises are fulfilled.
� Don't cheat the people of Valdor.
� We want what is rightfully ours.

The school was built about 100 years ago to cater to estate children initially. Located on a 0.1ha site, it now has an enrolment of 250.

Resident G Irulappan, 40, said there is a need to extend the building and improve the facilities.

�Many residents have been compelled to send their children to national and Chinese vernacular schools for primary education. If the government had allotted a bigger piece of land and rebuilt the school, we would not be facing this problem,� he said.

�The BN wants our votes but refuses to solve our problems. At least the DAP has been voicing our plight in the state assembly and Parliament.�

It was claimed that Najib Abdul Rajak, as education minister in 1997, and Koh during the 2004 general election, had promised the residents that the government would rebuild the school building.

However, nothing was done despite the submission of several memoranda and meetings with the authorities.

�Two years ago, our children were studying under a tree. We had to raise money to build extra classrooms because Koh and the BN government failed to help us,� said resident, M Sivakumar, 36.

The PTA then undertook to raise RM50,000 to extend the building.
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Probable Source: MalaysiaKini

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