TEBRAU, JOHOR (Dec 1, 2012): It was truly a night that Barisan Nasional (BN), especially the MIC component party, would not want to see in Johor.
Some 5,000 people, comprising 90% Indians, thronged Johor PKR’s Deepavali Open House cum ceramah tonight.
If there was ever any doubt that the Indian support for Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the 2008 political tsunami had waned, the sight must have been a nightmare for BN and MIC.
Johor, long assumed as Umno and BN’s bastion state in general elections, is now suddenly looking shaky for BN and Umno.
In the history of political rallies in Johor, the Opposition had never been able to attract crowds of such a magnitude from the Indians, Malays and Chinese.
It is, thus, a worrying signal to BN and Umno from Johoreans who have recently been turning up at PR ceramah in the thousands.
Anwar at the VIP table with Chua. On the left is community leader Rama and wife.
A visibly elated Anwar Ibrahim had the crowd applauding many a time when he repeatedly emphasised the need to discard race-based policies in ensuring good, productive and clean governance if PR is given the mandate to rule in the 13th General Election.
Anwar and other PR leaders on stage with an Indian entertainer.
“Whether we are Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or Ibans, we are all Malaysian brothers and sisters. Our policy is to ensure governance to a united, progressive and prosperous Malaysia.
“Our strategy is to eradicate poverty with zero tolerance for corruption in governance policy. This will be complemented with the thrust for quality and free education for all our children.
“Irrespective of race or religion, all Malaysian children will be entitled to free education, from primary to tertiary levels. Let me say this to everyone, in front of other non-Malay PR leaders.
“As a Malay, I will, of course ensure the welfare and interest of Malays and Islam are looked after. But that does not mean I will deny the rights and needs of the Indians, Chinese, Kadazans, Ibans and others.
A show of unity and patriotism on stage by PR leaders.
“If PR is given the mandate to form the next federal government, all schools will receive government funding. The condition is they must ensure pupils enhance their command and quality of Bahasa Malaysia while they pursue their right to mother-tongue education,” he added.
Anwar also reiterated some of the promises outlined in the Buku Jingga and his alternative Budget 2013.
The issues include lowering of the retail price of petrol and diesel, abolishment of the PTPTN (National Higher Education Fund) loans, annual 20% cut in excise duties to lower the price of cars and measures to help the needy and single- mothers.
PKR vice-president and Johor PKR chairman Chua Jui Meng, when approached on the sidelines, said: “Whatever doubts we had about the support of the Indian community for PKR and PR is now removed.
“With stronger backing from the Indian, Chinese and Malay communities in Johor compared with the March 2008 political tsunami, the state is no more a BN-Umno fortress.
“With a united stand of the communities against the BN, even the Johor state government can fall. That is the only way to stop the land grabs and corruption by the BN state government, so familiar with Johoreans, in the past two decades.”