On eve of May 13, Anwar tackles the tough 'Malay vs Chinese' issues at MAMMOTH Ipoh rally
Sunday, 12 May 2013 21:22amWritten by Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle
On the eve of May 13, a date that has many painful memories for Malaysian Chinese, Anwar Ibrahim did not disappoint the 100,000-odd Malaysians who had flocked to his rally in Ipoh to protest a "stolen" electoral victory.
He tackled the 'sensitive' issue of Section 153 in the Malaysian federal constitution, which touches on the special position of the Malays. He reiterated that the federal Constitution would be respected, and Section 153 would be maintained.
Anwar also lambasted Prime Minister Najib Razak and the Umno-BN coalition for continuously raising the spectre of the May 13, 1969 racial riots to scare the Chinese community into docility and to stir up hatred amongst the Malays for the Chinese.
A racist ex-judge with ties to Umno, Mohd Noor Abdullah who still sits on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, was another figure who came in for a tongue-lashing from the 64-year-old leader.
"What is wrong with non-Malays and non-Muslims to want to be respected and their rights upheld?," Anwar told the rally at Medan Istana in Ipoh town. "Tomorrow is May 13, someone warned me 'be careful, it is still strong in the memory of the people."
"[But] Our language, our understanding is no longer like in the 1960s, our young are now confident. This is your country, this is your land - the Malays, the Chinese, the Kadazans and the Ibans. If you believe, then save your country, save your future, your family. Stop corruption and abuse of power, throw out arrogant leaders. Rise and throw them out."
Mohd Noor had warned the Chinese community to prepare for "endless wrath" from the Malays for ditching the MCA and Umno-BN in the May 5 general elections.
"When Malays are betrayed, there is a backlash and the Chinese must bear the consequences of a Malay backlash," the judge had said during a forum organised by the UiTM Malaysia Alumni Association.
This is not about polemics or anyone political party
Earlier, Anwar was forced come to the rally on a motorbike due to the massive traffic congestion as tens of thousands thronged the area. He was immediately mobbed by the crowd.
Labelled a political chameleon by his nemesis and former boss Mahathir Mohamad, Anwar certainly called it right this round in refusing to concede defeat at the May 5 general election.
From the ashes of what he has alleged was a most unjust loss, he has turned the crisis to his advantage. If before he was already among the top 3 most popular leaders in the country, he is now in a class all of his own.
And it is not all about blind hero-worship. For his supporters and many Malaysians, Anwar represents their hope to a just Malaysia where law and order can persist without being twisted at the whim and fancy of the Umno elite, which has ruled Malaysia since 1957.
Within his own Malay-Muslim community, he is regarded as the only capable Malay leader to take the country forward.
"What type of Islam are they (Umno-BN) practising? In Islam, you cannot have racism. To me, I say work with the non-Muslims who are decent, righteous and have principles rather than with those who follow Islam but are corrupt and cheat their own citizens," said Anwar.
Even 'Rosmah' came
Indeed, it looks like Anwar has scored a hattrick. With two 'sell-out' rallies in Kelana Jaya, Selangor and Batu Kawan, Penang already tucked under his belt, he has managed to pull in another hundred thousand Malaysians to his third gathering in Ipoh including 'Rosmah' - Najib's controversial wife - to support his protest.
Of course, it is only an impersonator and not the self-styled First Lady of Malaysia herself but certainly Rosmah or rather her image is still a crowd-puller although not all who crowded around her impersonator had complimentary comments to make.
But by 10pm, more than 100,000 people had filled the lanes of the Medan Istana commercial center and more were on the way, according to the organizer. A mixed crowd was present, where again young Malaysians outnumbered the middle-aged and senior citizens, and despite having to sit on the roads, their enthusiasm was inspiring to the Pakatan Rakyat leaders who were visibly touched by the response.
Of the 3 rallies held so far, the Ipoh event - held right in front of the PKR branch - had been expected to be the quietest due to a hostile state government. As it turned out, perhaps due to the tighter surroundings, the feeling of rapport and participation may have been the greatest and the most lively so far.
Anwar and his team will speak in Kuantan, Pahang on Tuesday and Johor Bahru on Wednesday.