Khamis, 14 April 2011

Guan Eng charms Kuching in final hours of campaign

Lim gestures as he speaks to the large crowd at the ceramah last night, April 13, 2011. — Pictures by Choo Choy May
KUCHING, April 14 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng swept Kuching off her feet last night in his final swing at the capital city before Saturday’s election, entertaining thousands with jokes, songs and more anti-Pek Moh tales.
The Penang chief minister, standing on a makeshift podium outside the CH101 coffeeshop at the MJC New Township in Batu Kawah, was in his element as he delivered his speech to a crowd that numbered to at least 6,000 people.
Families, couples and individuals, some hugging the colourful plush “Ubah” toy in their arms, clambered to the venue and stood shoulder to shoulder for hours to listen to Lim and other Pakatan Rakyat leaders (PR) speak.

They clogged the street in front of the coffeeshop that stretched out for over 200 metres, gathering around Lim and four projector screens that were set up outside the five-foot way in front of the shoplots.
When there was no longer any standing room on the road, the crowd was forced to watch the leaders from the large park facing the shophouse, some standing on chairs to get a better view.
Deftly switching from Bahasa Malaysia to English and then to Hokkien, Mandarin and come Cantonese, Lim urged constituents to “ubah” (change) their present leadership and opt for PR.
The leader thundered the “Ngap sayop” battle cry numerous times to further stir the high-spirited crowd, using the infamous phrase in Sarawak football that means “easy to beat”.
“My friends, this is a very crucial election because if we can show that we dare to oppose the Barisan Nasional, we can bring about change not only in Sarawak but also in Malaysia.
“On April 16, if we can vote for the rocket (DAP) and PR, against the BN, this will be the end of the corruption practised by (Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul) Taib Mahmud for 30 years,” he said.
Taib, he said, was “growing desperate” in his struggle to retain power in Sarawak and had employed underhanded tactics to boost his campaign.
“Many online sites cannot be accessed. He is doing what Hosni Mubarak and Ben Ali did. He is closing free online websites so that people will not know what is going on,” he said.

A view of the large crowd which turned up for the ceramah last night, April 13, 2011.
Lim was referring to reports of the distribution denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks on several sites of late, including online news portal Malaysiakini and the anti-Taib Sarawak Report blog.
“They can shut us down for a day but not forever. On April 16, let us shut down Taib Mahmud himself, can we do that?” he asked.
The crowd shouted “Yes!” in response.
Lim also spoke on the numerous allegations of corruption against Taib, including the chief minister’s purported sale of large hectares of valuable land to cronies at below market rate.
“This is not satu Malaysia (1 Malaysia), this is ‘sapu’ Malaysia (wipeout Malaysia),” he said, leaving the audience in stitches.
“The prime minister comes here and now he says BN can win two-thirds. Support has naik (improved). Naik apa? Barang naik! (prices up).
“We export oil but the prices of oil have risen. Sarawak has oil but yet the prices go up. Who suffers? You suffer.
“But Taib says you suffer, it’s OK. As long as I don’t suffer, you can suffer, it’s your problem,” he said.
Lim also told the audience of the Global Integrity Report that showed that Malaysia had lost RM888 billion in illicit capital outflow in the past decade.
“This one, not I say... this one Washington said so no way I can lie. What is illicit funds outflow? It is corruption money, ‘duit kopi’.
“If we divide that sum between us, we have to use a massive calculator because it has too many numbers. But if we divide it, then each Malaysian will be RM33,000 richer,” he said.
The crowd jeered in response.
He pointed to his experience as chief minister in Penang, promising voters here that under a PR government their lives would flourish under fairer policies.
“In Penang, every senior citizen is given RM100 each year. The young get free Wifi. If Penang can do, then Sarawak also can do.
“Here, we will give you not RM100, but RM600, you want or not?” he said, inviting screams of “yes!” from the audience.
“Mau ubah (want change)? Mau tak?” he said. “Then ubah on April 16. If not, there will be no hope and all business opportunities will be given to Pek Moh and his children.”
Charged up from the speech, one man from the audience pumped his “Ubah” toy in the air and shouted, “Say goodbye to Pek Moh!”
Feeding off the crowd’s response, Lim belted out the popular “Nobody” song made famous by Wondergirls, a South Korean all-girl group.
“We should sing! If we can create change, we can sing to Pek Moh the Wondergirls song. Do you know it?
“I want nobody, nobody but you! I want nobody, nobody but you!” he said, singing the chorus.
But Lim said the lyrics of the song should be tailored to match the people’s message to Taib.
“If we can win on April 16, we can sing to Pek Moh. You want to sing together? Let’s sing now, sing to Pek Moh.
“I want no money, no money for you! I want no money, no money for you!” he sang.
Lim even convinced the crowd to clap twice at the end of each sentence and they played along with the chief minister, clapping merrily as they echoed the altered lyrics of the song in unison.
“I know you have some fondness for BN. But things have changed,” Lim said.
Taib has ruled in Sarawak for a record 30 years, making him the country’s longest-serving chief minister.
“Jom ubah! Ngap sayop! April 16, let us write history in Batu Kawah. Only when we do can we achieve a miracle in Sarawak and in Malaysia.
“All eyes in Kuching are on Batu Kawah and all eyes in Sarawak are on Batu Kawah,” he said, before ending his speech.
The DAP is said to be facing an uphill battle in its quest for Batu Kawah, a long-time SUPP stronghold.
The party has fielded Christina Chiew, its youngest candidate at 27 years old, who will face off with the seat’s incumbent assistant minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Tan Joo Phoi.
After Lim addressed the crowd, the crowd surprisingly did not disperse and stayed on to listen to other headliners including PKR’s Batu Lintang candidate See Chee How, PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang and PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Md Akin.
Across the state, similar ceramahs held by the opposition force were reported to have drawn similarly large turnouts over the past few days.

Another view of the large crowd which turned up for the ceramah last night, April 13, 2011.

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