It felt like the long-awaited MERDEKA celebration for Malaysians. Not because Anwar Ibrahim had won the Permatang Pauh by-election with an earthquake like majority last night.
It was because of the people who came together, irregardless of race and religion, to give BN/UMNO the strongest message ever.
That they want PAKATAN RAKYAT – a multi-racial coalition of PKR, DAP and PAS – to govern Putrajaya is quite a staggering thought.
At about 10pm, when Anwar and his friends emerged on stage at the Tengku Bainun teaching institute, the field drowned with intense shouts of Merdeka, reformasi, minyak turun (down with fuel prices) and cuti, cuti, cuti (off-day, off-day, off-day).
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who was present on the victory stage, was amused. But he did not declare another public holiday.
“Fuel prices will not go down until we reach Putrajaya!!!” said Anwar in his victory speech. Read the rest of the speech @ Anwar Ibrahim’s blog.
(More videos inside)
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Look at this amazing sight! The 10,000 strong crowd, who braved the drizzles, mosquitos, muddy field and what nots, sang NEGARA KU, the national anthem, when PAKATAN leaders gathered on the stage, after the EC declared a landslide victory for Anwar.
At first, the EC did not allow Anwar to greet his supporters in the public rally. Then someone handed Anwar a loud hailer. A while later, we saw Guan Eng saying something to the effect of “we can use a mike”.
The crowd was electrified.
Earlier, everyone was wondering where were the BN/UMNO supporters. We could not see them across the field. One PKR supporter remarked cynically that they did not dare appear as they knew they have lost.
Another chipped in to say that perhaps it was too early? But there were still no signs of them until 11pm.
PAKATAN supporters entertaining themselves and others: “Where have all the money gone? They have been eaten by BN”. It was quite comical.
I asked them to repeat their song, which had lyrics like: “Where’s my cow, my cow wears BN clothes? Where’s my chick, my chick wear Puteri clothes?” – chick as in ‘ayam’. Aduh!
As the time draws nearer to announcement of the P44 results, the crowd started to pray for Anwar:
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At around 8pm, I managed to get into the counting centre, even without a SPR yellow card. I did not want to miss this historic moment. I blend into the crowd of polling agents, journalists, photographers and Opposition members.
I sneaked passed the policemen and women who were guarding the various entrances. They were mighty strict. I supposed ‘peti undi-s” are sacred.
Election commission officials waiting for the session to end. They looked a bit tired:
I mingled among my reporter friends, photographers and PAKATAN RAKYAT MPs.
When Anwar arrived about 9pm, everyone rushed to him, as usual. Everyone loves a winner. They make him sit on a couch with the label ‘calon’ pasted on top.
There were three couches. The other two calons, did not appear. So Anwar’s friends and family sat on them.
He actually spotted me in the crowd of reporters and photographers.
“SUSAN! What are you doing here?” he asked. He often made a joke about it. As I was always around in press conferences eventhough I am no longer working for an agency.
I wanted to wish him “CONGRATULATIONS!”. But I felt the people out there waiting for him, those who campaigned so hard for his victory, and those who believed in him (DAP, PAS, civil society representatives and ordinary folks who voted from him), deserved it more.
As for the journey to Putrajaya, you may read Malaysiakini. I did not stay for the press conference which took place about 11pm.