February 13, 2013
Penangnites came for PSY, not Najib, says Susan Loone
About 30,000 braved the sweltering heat to see top South Korean pop star Psy gallop on stage to perform his world famous ‘Oppa Gangnam style’ at the BN’s open house in Penang today.
They were with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak at Penang state BN Chinese New Year (CNY) open house held at the Han Chiang College field.The numbers were short of the expected 80,000, although a police officer on his rounds said he estimated the crowd as about 50,000.
Despite the emcee asking the people to give PM a rousing welcome, the crowd was mostly subdued, many fanning themselves under the burning February heat.
Puteri UMNO and BN supporters were seen waving ‘I love PM!’ banners but they were in the minority. Nibong Tebal MIC chief R Rajagopal said he had arranged 10 buses to the event.
When asked why he was not shouting “I love PM!”, the 62-year-old retiree replied “It’s okay, I’ve done a lot of that already”.
Attired in red traditional Chinese shirts, Najib and wife Rosmah Mansor together with children Ashman and Nooryana Najwa, arrived at 10.48am and were greeted by a lion dance troupe and a Chingay procession. He was accompanied by state BN leaders Teng Chang Yeow, Teng Hock Nan, and Tourism Minister Ng Yen Yen as well as former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Yellow, green and red
As of 9.30am when the programme started, traffic was smooth and hundreds of police and volunteers corps were stationed at various points to direct traffic and manage the crowd.
When met on the field, Penang Plice chief Abdul Rahim Hanafi estimated the crowd to be about 50,000 to 60,000. “We deployed about 1,200 personnel today and it is a peaceful gathering,” he told Malaysiakini.
Many were seen in yellow, green and red. There were also UMNO members wearing red as it is their party’s colour. There were also those wearing the T-shirts of NGO BERSIH.
One, Alex Tan, 27 (right) from Klang, said he came to see Psy and to support Pakatan.
“I arrived as early as 7am with five others,” he added.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng had earlier advised the public to wear yellow in a show of support for BERSIH, green for environment and red for change, but his suggestion didn’t go down well with BN leaders.
Initially, participants were not allowed to enter the field without special passes of ‘I love PM’ stickers and many were at a loss as to where to get them.
This is the first time BN had organised its CNY function in the open, at the Han Chiang field which has begun to be a symbol of Pakatan Rakyat.
Pakatan, with DAP leading, held a gathering here before the 2008 general election where thousands turned up to show their support, leading the opposition coalition to victory on March 8 that year.
Before Najib and his entourage arrived, the crowd was entertained by several performances from an orchestra. Traditional dances and a dragon and phoenix dance were also featured.
In his speech, state BN chief Teng Chang Yeow said BN had brought the best in the world and Asia through 1Malaysia initiator of Najib.”We want to bring the best to Penang,” he added.
Goodies for those with ‘pink papers’
At the end of event, the crowd lined up at the Han Chiang stadium venue for angpow, goodie bags and boxes of oranges. A senior citizen at the scene said that only people with special ‘pink papers’ were given the handouts by a group in ‘Kelab Penyokong BN’ attire.
“I managed to get three packets of angpow, a bag with packets of rice and packets of other edible stuff and a box of oranges,” he told Malaysiakini, telling this reporter to line up and get the goodies before they ran out.