Saturday, May 4, 2013
Karpal, speaking at the Pakatan Rakyat grand rally at the Esplanade in Penang last night, said there is still fire in his belly.
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will be Malaysia’s seventh prime minister while PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and Lim Kit Siang will share honours as his deputies if Pakatan Rakyat (PR) seizes Putrajaya on Sunday, the DAP’s Karpal Singh proposed last night before a big crowd in Penang.
“Of course the man who is fit to be prime minister of this country, we in DAP propose and support Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Malaysia’s seventh prime minister.
“Hadi Awang can be deputy prime minister. Lim Kit Siang can be DPM II and he can also be home minister,” the DAP national chairman told an ecstatic crowd dressed in the traffic light colours of red, yellow and green that crammed every square inch of ground in the port city where the pact had resurrected the forgotten Speaker’s Corner after coming to power five years ago.
The Bukit Gelugor MP incumbent, who is defending his seat in the May 5 polls, also proposed that he stay a lawyer to advise the new regime — should it come to power — on making laws that enforce justice for all.
“People say Kit Siang and I are old, we both have served for more than 20 years,” he said, before telling the predominantly Chinese crowd, “lang lau, sim bo lau.”
In the Hokkien dialect favoured by the Penang Chinese, it means the body may be old but the heart is not.
“Lim Kit Siang and I, we are not old. There is still fire in our bellies,” said the 72-year-old known to many as the “Tiger of Bukit Gelugor” for his fierce and unbending belief in the rule of law.
The veteran lawyer and lawmaker reminded Penang’s voters who were out in full force that night — beating the turnout at the historic Han Chiang College just four nights earlier — that the time for change had come.
“In Singapore, the People’s Action Party has suffered defeat in its elections... the time has come, there must be change. On the 5th of May, the change must be the removal of Barisan Nasional in Putrajaya,” he said.
The party’s line-up of speakers last night, which included newcomers such as Kasthuri Patto and Zairil Khir Johari, told the Penang crowd that the BN’s old playbook of peddling racial and religious fears to divide and conquer Malaysia’s multicultural communities no longer held traction with the 13.3 million electorate, especially the young, who craved a government that focused on cutting corruption and helping to put the economy back on track.
“There is a thirst for change in Malaysia today.
“It’s all in your hands, the people of this country. And this thirst for change will be quenched on the 5th of May,” Karpal summed up when he took to the stage as the rally’s final speaker.
In a speech punctuated with the blares from the vuvuzuela popularly used to cheer on football teams, Karpal also called on the gargantuan crowd to make sure that on May 5, Kit Siang’s son Lim Guan Eng is given a second mandate to govern Penang as its chief minister.
The mega ceramah, which started at about 8pm, saw droves of people arriving from as early as 7pm.
Major roads leading into the world heritage city were clogged with cars and motorcycles by 9pm, just as the ceramah was warming up.
According to news reports fed by the organisers as well as friends who had planned to attend the rally but were stuck in traffic, the gridlock extended all the way to the Penang Bridge to the south and Tanjung Tokong on the turtle-shaped island’s north end.
The event ended shortly after midnight with the DAP announcing a jaw-dropping RM505,000 in its donation drive at the Esplanade last night. On its Facebook page a couple of hours later, the donation was updated to read RM587,168.85.