GEORGE TOWN, April 30 — Lim Kit Siang urged voters last night to dream of a day when “all of us are regarded as Malaysians first and last” at a mammoth Pakatan Rakyat (PR) rally at the historic Han Chiang school field which was packed with a huge crowd.
Every inch of space on the field here was filled with PR supporters as Lim closed out a five-hour rally by urging Malaysians to stand up for what he called “the great Malaysian dream.”
“Let us in this election stand up and dare to dream the great dream of a Malaysia of justice, good governance, freedom and in which all are regarded as Malaysians first and last,” he told supporters.
With horns blaring, and loud cheers of “Ubah” — the DAP’s rallying cry for Election 2013 — the crowd drowned out many of the speeches that railed against Barisan Nasional (BN).
While other top PR leaders like Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and incumbent Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng also spoke, the loudest cheers of the night was reserved for the 72-year-old Kit Siang, who is vying for a seat in Gelang Patah, Johor.
“If we want to finish the uncompleted business of the 2008 political tsunami it must be from the south. That is why I returned to Johor,” the Batu Pahat-born Kit Siang said.
“I won Ipoh Timur then with a majority of over 21,000 votes but Gelang Patah is a BN fortress and it had won by a margin of 9,000 votes in 2008 and 31,666 votes in 2004. It is a big risk for me.”
Kit Siang’s campaign has been well received largely by Chinese voters in Gelang Patah but he has faced an onslaught of criticisms from BN leaders like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Umno has accused Kit Siang of being a racist, with Dr Mahathir even warning of racial confrontation between Malays and Chinese if Kit Siang were to win in Johor.
Just a little over half of voters in Gelang Patah are Chinese, with Malays making up a significant number of the rest.
Guan Eng, who spoke briefly before letting his father take the stage, also drew an enthusiastic response from the DAP supporters.
“Dr Mahathir used to say that Penang was a dirty state. We thought Penang could not be clean.
“But then we knew that after 2008 it was not the fault of the people but the fault of the BN government.”
After a relatively quiet start last week, PR leaders are now planning a series of mammoth rallies which started with the Han Chiang event last night.
Last night, the DAP also announced it had collected RM236,851 in cash donations from those who attended.
Today, Najib visits Penang and is expected to offer more promises to voters in BN’s bid to take back the state it had ruled under Gerakan since 1969.
Before 1969, Penang was held by the MCA, one of the original three members of the Alliance, the predecessor to BN.