January 13, 2013
KL112: The Winners and Losers
For the past few decades, the authorities had placed numerous obstacles for Opposition parties to gather en masse, citing security concerns and traffic as the usual reasons.
The People’s Uprising Rally (KL112), in keeping with its revolutionary theme, saw the authorities essentially giving opposition parties free passage to do almost whatever they wanted.
Obviously, there was a political gamble at play in view that the 13th general election is around the corner. Malaysiakini examines who had most to gain from this high stakes gamble.
Even before the rally was concluded, photographs of an overflowing Stadium Merdeka had gone viral over the Internet, proving to undecided voters that the coalition does enjoy mass public support and is a legitimate candidate for Putrajaya. What Pakatan needs to do now is to take advantage of momentum and spread the central message of the rally – the ten point declaration – throughout the country.
Several key civil society movements, especially for environmental causes, have grown exponentially in strength over the past years and command a sizeable following, which was displayed during KL112.
Evolving from the initial not-in-my-backyard (Nimby) philosophy, Malaysia’s various green movements have now gone national as people begin to recognise the importance of civil society in shaping the nation.
Tan Sri Ismail Omar
In the run up to KL112, the Police released several statements in an accommodating tone, to the extent of promising that they had set a ‘zero casualty’ target. The whole time, Inspector-General of police Ismail Omar didn’t say a single word, leaving the talking to his subordinates.
Had things turned sour, Ismail would have taken the rap as usual. But now, he will be remembered for the fact that his men stayed true to their word.
Traders near Stadium Merdeka
Save for one stall owner selling gas masks, traders who set up shop around Stadium Merdeka were all smiles because they were enjoying brisk sale of T-shirts, drinks and food.
Previously, one group of traders claimed BERSIH 3.0 had cost them great losses. Perhaps they should sharpen their eye for opportunities.
Najib Abdul Razak
In the past, Pakatan wasn’t able to fill half of the 25,000 capacity MBPJ Stadium in Kelana Jaya. Was the Prime Minister hoping for the same this time round, so he could ridicule them later?
Internally, UMNO die-hards are probably curious to know why their President allowed the event to proceed when it could have been dealt with, by many old and proven methods.
More importantly, the public will also be questioning Najib and his party on whether they can pull off a similar spectacle without paying the participants.
UMNO and BN
From sodomy to a Christian conspiracy to eroding Malay rights, UMNO and BN component parties have slung mud in every shape and size at Pakatan since 2008.If the turnout was an indicator of reputation, nothing appears to be sticking.
Mainstream Media organisations
Save for Sinar Harian and all the Chinese media organisations, the focus was not on turnout nor the message of the rally but the various infractions chalked up by the rally organisers.
Unfortunately for them, videoclips and photographs – in particularly an aerial shot by AFP capturing the scene in and around Stadium Merdeka – are being widely circulated online, helping the public to have a clearer understanding of what transpired.