Wednesday, May 22, 2013

As thousands rally in Kedah, Mahfuz warns BN against needless spats

Mahfuz reminded Mukhriz that the previous PAS administration had extended the use of the state stadium for Najib’s rally in January.

Thousands attended the “Black 505” rally here last night, where Kedah PAS chief Datuk Mahfuz Omar warned Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders against sparking conflict as the majority was with Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

Estimating that a crowd of 50,000 had gathered outside the state PAS headquarters, Mahfuz criticised newly-minted Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Kedah Chief Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir for warning against the rally.

“I would advise Zahid to accept that the majority of the people are with the Pakatan Rakyat and don’t start a war with the people. Be rational,” the PAS vice-president and Pokok Sena MP was quoted as saying in media reports.

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“As for Mukhriz, I would ask him to open up a bit as he is still a young man. He should not behave like the Umno leaders of the past who adopted a confrontational approach with the people,” Mahfuz added.

The state PAS commissioner also reminded Mukhriz’s BN government that the previous PAS administration had allowed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak the use of the state stadium for a rally last January.

Mukhriz, the youngest son of Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had refused PAS permission to hold the “Black 505” rally in the stadium last night.

The mainly Malay crowd turned up from 6.30pm for the PR rally against alleged electoral fraud and irregularities, initiated by opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“This is an extraordinary crowd and it proves people like (MCA president) Chua Soi Lek wrong. Soi Lek says only the Chinese attend the ‘Black 505’ rallies but what we saw tonight were the Malays in full force,” Sungei Petani MP Johari Abdul told reporters after the rally.

He was among the speakers that included Anwar, PAS deputy president Mohamed Sabu, PAS vice president Datuk Salahuddin Ayub, PKR vice presidents Chua Tian Chang and N. Surendran

Umno-owned newspaper Utusan Malaysia had reported that crowds attending the six earlier “Black 505” rallies were mainly Chinese youths, taking the cue from BN leaders who complained a “Chinese tsunami” cost them votes in Election 2013.

Previous “Black 505” rallies were held in Selangor, Penang, Perak Johor, Negri Sembilan and Pahang, where thousands defied police warnings to pack stadiums and public spaces.

Taking to the stage last night, Anwar accused BN of vote-rigging and cheating as the crowd roared with cheers. He also gave fresh examples of the Election Commission’s (EC) alleged connivance in “making fools of the voters”.

The PKR de facto leader also told EC staff to “stand up” and speak out against the alleged polls fraud in the elections where BN won 133 federal seats against PR’s 89 seats. PR is disputing the results of 29 seats.

In Election 2008, BN won 140 federal seats to lose its two-thirds super-majority while PR took 82 seats.
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