By Malaysiakini team

100,000 throng Stadium Merdeka for 'Uprising' rally

rally people's uprising bird's eye view

Downtown Kuala Lumpur is expected to be swamped with thousands of Pakatan Rakyat supporters as part of the coalition's final show of force ahead of a crucial general election.

Organisers are hoping that the big turnout at the rally - dubbed the People's Uprising Rally - would sway fence-sitters who are likely to vote based on who will be likely to form the next federal government.

NONEThe Najib Abdul Razak government, however, appeared to be bending over backwards to ensure that there are no untoward incidents, even if the rally theme itself is brazenly revolutionary.

Not only have the authorities allowed Pakatan to rally at the historic and highly symbolic Stadium Merdeka, the police have stated that its target was for "zero casualties" and have pledged to do without the notorious Federal Reserve Unit (riot police).

Rally organisers are putting the authorities' new attitude to the test, with plans to hold multiple street processions ahead of the three-hour rally, which is scheduled to begin at 2pm.

The weather forecast for today is cloudy with a slight chance of showers.

LIVE REPORTS

NONE

9.13am: Brickfields (Jln Tun Sambanthan) - Traffic is smooth as there are no roadblocks. A group of participants in yellow is spotted heading towards the stadium. There are no signages about the gathering at the moment.

9.20am: Masjid Negara - The mosque begins to fill with large groups in yellow and green attire, spilling out across to the railway station. Traffic is smooth and traffic police are assisting. The road in the direction of Dataran Merdeka has been blocked and traffic headed that way has been diverted to Jln Kinabalu.

Traffic in front of Sultan Sulaiman Club is also smooth. A number of supporters in green and yellow are sitting by the pavement, and a stall has been set up selling People’s Uprising Rally attire.

9.45am: Masjid Al-Rahman (Universiti Malaya) - Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar has just arrived. About 50 people have gathered and are preparing to head to the stadium.

NONEKLCC - 500 people are gathered there, along with activists and NGOs such as the Royalti, Anak, and Bersih. Royalti secretary Hishamuddin Ghazali says they plan to head to the stadium at 11.45am with PAS vice president Husam Musa dan Anak chief Mazlan Aliman leading.

9.55am: Stadium Merdeka - The rally venue site is still closed to the public, but a handful of Pakatan Rakyat members are already inside the stadium making preparations.

Meanwhile, stalls have lined for more than 500m along the roads outside the stadium in a 'pasar pagi'-like atmosphere.

People are already pouring in around the stadium. The crowd size is estimated at over 2,000.

9.56am: Jalan Sultan - A few hundred people are gathered here in a festival-like atmosphere. The streets are filled with the sound of vuvuzelas.

NONEThe yellow People's Uprising rally T-shirts displaying "kuasa rakyat #KL112" are quickly running out. Participants are spotted changing into the T-shirts on the street, while some female participants simply put them on top of what they are wearing.

Shops are open for business. Tailor shop owner Khong Kim Lyew tells Malaysiakini that his shop opens from 8am to 5pm as usual to send a message to the police that the rally is peaceful.

While police have warned that children are not allowed to participate in the rally, a few children in yellow are seen with their parents.

NONE10am: Amcorp Mall, Petaling Jaya - About 200 people are gathered in the field opposite the mall, mostly in blue PKR Youth T-shirts. They are preparing to head to the UM mosque to join the crowd there.

Among the ledgers present is Simpang Pulai assemblyperson Chan Ming Kai. 

10.10am: Jalan Stadium - The police have set up two tents for the media within the compound of the Tun HS Lee police station. They have also set up a counter to register media personnels for on-the-spot issuing of police-sanctioned press tags.

A number of journalists are here awaiting the rally to begin in the afternoon. The police station is about 200 metres away from Stadium Merdeka.

Amcorp Mall - The crowd starts moving, singing songs and Negaraku, bearing a placard with the words "Clean up the electoral system".

NONE10.15am: Jalan Sultan - A group of DAP supporters danced Gangnam-style on the street, accompanied with the famous South Korean song which has been modified with anti-Lynas lyrics.

DAP member Chua Beng Hooi, 47, who is wearing a radioactive proof suit, joins the fun.

According to his friend, Chua had made the costume specially for today’s rally.

Chua, a fisherman from Taiping, says he is here to support the green movement. The crowd size is now about 500.

10.30am: KLCC - Gerak Khas actress Abby Abadi is among the Royalti supporters. Dressed in a purple tudung and a black jubah, she takes photographs with the NGO members in the KLCC area and becomes an attraction with media cameras. 

Shortly after, Abby tells reporters that she hopes there would be no repeat of incidents such as that at the ending of Bersih 3.0's rally last April.

“From what I can see, everybody wants to change, including the police and civil servants, whose eyes are now open.

“Everybody wants change in a good way. We need to use our power to choose well in the coming general election,” she said.

NONE10.40am: Jalan Thambipillay 4, Brickfields - Cartoonist Zunar is leading a group of about 100 youths by the roadside with chants of "Hidup, Hidup, Hidup Rakyat".

They also chanted "Hancur" to several personalities, including Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor.

Clad in yellow T-shirts, they held up banners that read "Kumpulan Kartunis Independen". Several vehicles that passed them honked in support, sending them into wild cheers.

10.45am: Stadium Merdeka - Controversial carpet businessman Deepak Jaikishan showed up at the entrance of the stadium, about three hours before the rally is due to begin.

NONEDressed in a green T-shirt and a pair of green sport shoes, he plans to march together with the PAS leaders and supporters from the party headquarters at Jalan Raja Laut at 11am. The group is estimated to reach the stadium before 2pm.

“I am here to show my support to all Malaysians. We come together to demand that the government must have free and fair elections. The public has already awaken - this is not a tsunami, this is an earthquake.

When asked whether he would like to speak on the stage later this afternoon, he replied: “If I am given the opportunity, yes.”

Deepak’s presence draws some attention from the crowd, with a number of people seeking to have their photographs taken with him.

10.47am: Jalan Sultan - The rally sees two complete strangers - Eric Chong from Kuala Lumpur and Raymond Toh from Penang - becoming friends when they got into a conversation while purchasing the rally T-shirts and merchandises this morning.

NONEChong, 60, (left in picture) who works in a factory, is a frequent rally-goer. He says that the both of them have vowed to attend future mammoth rallies together.

"We share the same views, we are brothers," says Chong.

Meanwhile, Toh, 38, a wholesaler, says the two will exchange contacts. Toh and Chong proudly said that they are at today’s rally on their own expenses.

10.55am: Masjid Al-Rahman (UM) - With supporters from Amcorp Mall arriving at the historic university entrance, the crowd begins moving to the stadium. UM students are present, bearing a placard with the words "Students want a change in government". Meanwhile in the Sultan Sulaiman Club in Dataran, the crowd has grown to 150.

KLCC - About 1,000 are now gathered and are awaiting their leaders Mazlan Aliman and PAS central committee member Dzulkefly Ahmad.

Batu Burok assemblyperson Syed Azman Syed Ahmad Nawawi and about 30 members of PAS’ Unit Amal are present.

10.57am: KLCC - Mazlan speaks and calls Felda chairperson Isa Samad and enemy of the Felda community, who has awakened and is demanding fair and honest treatment.

“Save Felda, step down, Isa,” he shouts.

NONEThe crowd, now 3,000-strong, begins marching to Stadium Merdeka while chanting, “Long live the people”. Leading the way are Pakatan leaders such as PAS Tumpat MP Kamaruddin Jaafar and Teng.

Sultan Sulaiman Club - The crowd marches along Jln Raja Abdullah chanting “Long live the people,” and “Police, go home”.

A bystander, Firdaus Abdul Rahman, says he is enjoying watching the action.

But he is unaware of the issues behind the march. “I am open. I do not side any party, as that is our right,” he said.

“It is enjoyable to watch, but I do not know the issues. I am just an observer, it looks like good fun,” said Firdaus from Segambut, who is on his way to Kampung Baru for breakfast.

11am: Little India, Brickfields - The crowd is a bit thin here, numbering at only about 60 people. Shops are blasting Tamil music as housewives pick their vegetables. Business appears to be as usual. It is unclear whether this is indicative of lukewarm support from the Indian community that would normally assemble here for rallies.

A police bus is parked by the roadside, but their presence is small. Only five police officers are spotted.

NONE11.03am: Jalan Sultan - Despite the police barring children below 15 from participating in the rally, Chew Lai Ching has brought her entire family.

“I need to let my children know that we are fighting for them and for their future,” she added.

She joined the rally together with her husband and two kids, a three-year old and a six-month old. All of them are wearing the Himpunan Hijau iconic green T-shirt.

The 35-year-old mother says she had wanted to join earlier rallies, but was unable to do so as she needed to take care of her children.

“This time, however, I know it will be a peaceful rally,” she said, adding that her family is supporting the 'green' environmental movement.

11.22am: Dataran Merdeka - Himpunan Hijau chairperson Wong Tack and his fellow steering committee members are outside the iconic square, despite the area being completely sealed by the police.

NONE“Although Dataran is not a meeting point for Himpunan Hijau, but I would like to see the green field every time I come to Kuala Lunpur. I believe one day the people will finally be able to step on this field,” he said.

Over a few hundred protesters are gathered here. Wong Tack says they will walk to Jalan Sultan at around noon and finally head to the stadium.

Himpunan Hijau had initiated the 300km Green March in November last year from Kuantan, but they failed to get into Dataran on their arrival in KL.

There are more than a hundred police personnel stationed around the iconic square.

11.25am: Jalan Petaling - The Bersih Mama team is here to promote its bi-monthly publication, Sunflower Paper, and its activities.

Bersih Mama member Ng Kai Chan says Bersih Mama went into the business with the Sunflower Electoral Education (SEED), a group under KLSCAH, to convey messages of the civic struggle nationwide.

"In our first edition which was published last December, we wrote about the rare earth issue, and printed 5,000 copies. We wish to talk about the anti-cyanide gold mining issue in the next edition, which will be out next week," she tells Malaysiakini.

They plan to print 10,000 copies this time. Ng said they now work on a Bahasa Malaysia edition and wish to release it before Chinese New Year. The group also welcomes donations for its campaigns.

11:28am: Sultan Sulaiman Club - Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (Samm) chief Badrul Hisham Shaharin, better known as Chegubard, arrives and speaks from the top of a Triton truck to the estimated 500 people gathered. Earlier, the crowd chanted, “The youth have awakened”.

NONEChegubard says they will move through Jalan Raja Abdullah, Jalan Tun TS Lee to Jalan Sultan, where they intend to converge with Husam’s group from KLCC.

11.35am: KLSCAH - About 10,000 people are at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH), having earlier marched from Masjid Negara. They are now a stone's throw away from Stadium Merdeka.

11.37am: KLCC - The crowd has doubled to roughly 2,500. Dzulkefly and Royalti leader R Nazri Deraman are among those speaking about the return of Kelantan and Terengganu’s oil royalties to the people of the states. They also spoke out against the Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGV) controversial listing.

“Today is a historic day, the KL112 rally is uniting all the people’s protests, in order that Malaysia can progress, in order to create change.

NONE“We demand for the oil royalties that have been denied Kelantan and Terengganu who have till now been betrayed (by the federal government). We also want the rights of Felda settlers upheld,” said Dzulkefly

The crowd is chanting, “Return our royalties. We demand our royalties, this is the people’s right”. Other leaders present are Anak’s Mazlan and Selangor speaker, Teng Chang Khim.

11.45am: Stadium Merdeka - The crowd from Masjid Negara has arrived at the stadium, clogging up the lower half of the main road. Stalls selling refreshments along the streets are doing a roaring business.

The stadium will only be opened to the crowd after 12pm.

NONE11.50am: Brickfields - There are two groups assembled here. The group at Little India has dramatically swelled as their numbers are bolstered by commuters from KL Sentral. The close to 600 people here consists of Orang Asli activists, student activists, Indian NGOs, and party activists.

They are gathered around the iconic elephant water fountain here and encircled by Unit Amal personnel. Meanwhile, over at Jalan Thambipillay 4, the crowd there has also swelled to some 300 people.

12pm: Little India - The crowd bursts into cheers as the group from University Malaya marched across the bridge to join them, making a total of roughly 5,000. They are marching along Jalan Tun Sambathan towards Pasar Seni, and onwards to Stadium Merdeka.

12.12pm: Jalan Ampang - Chegubard’s group is heading towards Jln Gereja, and shops along Jln Ampang are seen to be open and doing business as usual.

Iskandar, a sundry shop owner, says he knew about the rally but decided to open shop anyway.

“I did not close shop today, because they (the rally-goers) are not disrupting my business,” he says.

Meanwhile, a senior citizen from Maran, Pahang, 65-year-old Osman Mamat says he is happy to be part of the rally as he wants to demand for justice.

“For the sake of justice, it doesn’t matter how far I have to walk. I am not feeling unwell. I am truly here for the cause,” he says.

NONE12.15pm: Stadium Merdeka - The 10,000-strong crowd has entered Stadium Merdeka and are already getting to their seats.

About one-third of the historic stadium has been occupied by the rally participants. Some of them blowing the vuvuzela horns, and some of them shouting slogans such as "reformasi".

The majority of the crowd are dressed in the iconic yellow and green shirts, which represent the Bersih and Himpunan Hijau movement, respectively.

However, some of them also wearing the red and black T-shirts with "Royalti" on it, in reference to the Kelantan oil royalty movement.

It is a multiracial crowd, many of whom are PAS supporters.

12.20pm: KLCC-Jln Ampang - The group has swollen to 10,000 and has reached the Dang Wangi LRT station. As they march, they chant, “Destroy BN,” and “There are no barriers, move on smoothly”.

Little India - Three pickups with ‘Medical Teams' stickers are seen accompanying the procession.

NONE12.25pm: PWTC LRT station - Three Sabahans have spent RM750 each to fly to KL to participate in the rally.

Abdul Momin, 43, says this is the first time he is in Kuala Lumpur to participate in a rally.

"I came here because I want to show that Sabahans are part of the cause for change."

The former Umno member says he has joined Pertubuhan Pakatan Perubahan Sabah, which is led by Beaufort MP Lajim Ukim, who defected from Umno last year.

12.33pm: KLCC - Jln Ampang is filled to the brim as the group from KLCC moves past. Passing vehicles sound their horns and the crowd cheers back in appreciation. Traffic police are directing the traffic.

NONEThe group, with Husam leading, met up with Chegubard’s group and together they head to Jln Sultan as the crowd continues to swell.

12.45pm: Little India - The groups from Brickfields, UM dan Amcorp Mall converge with the Masjid Negara group and head towards Stadium Merdeka through Jln Syed Putra. The police assigned to assist the media have yet to be seen, there are only traffic police and regular uniformed police.

12.48pm: Pasar Seni LRT station - A slight drizzle starts as hundreds of Pakatan supporters walk towards the stadium. Most of them wear yellow and green.

12.59pm: Jalan Sultan-Jalan Hang Jebat - A 5,000-strong crowd marches to Stadium Merdeka, with some shouting the word, "Bersih".

NONEThe crowd cheers on a few policemen on motorbikes who were seen entering Jalan Sultan. The police officers responded by waving and smiling back at the crowd.

A participant in the crowd has a yellow vest with "My Name is Deepak" scrawled on it.

1pm: Jalan Tun Perak - The Samm group is moving past Menara Maybank towards Jalan Sultan while chanting, “People, rise,” and “We fight the corrupt regime,” while some are carrying posters calling for an end to the student loan, PTPTN, and “Justice for (the late DAP aide) Teoh Beng Hock”.

1.04pm: Jalan Ampang - En route to Jalan Sultan, Husam makes a speech calling for Prime Minister Najib Razak to respond to allegations from businessman Deepak Jaikishan relating to murdered Mongolian translator, Altantuya Shaariibuu.

“Answer on the issue of Altantuya. Why keep silent? If it is a health issue, he can respond, but on the Altantuya issue, he remains silent,” says Husam.

He adds that former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad today was reported calling on leaders “with problems” to step down.

NONEOn the issue of Kelantan’s oil royalties, he challenged Kelantan Umno liaison committee chairman Mustapa Mohamed to hold a forum to discuss the latter’s claim that giving 20 percent royalties to the five oil producing states - Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak - would bankrupt the nation.

“Umno leaders whose brains are bankrupt are the ones who will bankrupt the nation. 20 percent oil royalties for the Bidayuh, Kadazan, the poor in Terengganu, Kelantan and Pahang will bring hope to elevate (these communities),” he said.

“All these states have 96 (parliamentary) seats. If we can get these seats, Najib will crank up his engines and leave the country,” he added.

1.05pm: Maharajalela monorail station - Near the station, Baling councillor Chandra M Subramaniam is seen giving a speech in Chinese. He says he has brought three busloads from Baling to join the rally.

1.05pm: Stadium Merdeka - A big group of women participants arrive at the stadium, having marched from Central Market.

Clad in iconic purple colours, the women carried banners with various messages including the demand for free education, end of corruption, women’s power as well as justice for Teoh Beng Hock.

NONEThe police estimated the crowd size, both in and outside of the stadium, at around 40,000 people.

Many of the participants are still queuing up outside as the Unit Amal team only allowed the participants into the stadium in batches.

1.22pm: KLSCAH - An estimated crowd of 15,000 gathers in front of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, waiting for their turn to move into Stadium Merdeka. They are quiet and calm.

1.23 pm: Jalan Sultan - Rally-goers from Samm are sitting down respectfully as one of their members intone the Zohor azan. They will then proceed to Stadium Merdeka and hold the proper Zohor prayers there.

Meanwhile, the KLCC crowd has arrived, chanting, “Step down, BN step down,” and “Takbir!” and head towards Puduraya.

NONE1.45pm: Outside Stadium Merdeka - Business has been brisk for hawkers in the vicinity of the stadium. Mansur Ahmad (left), 56, says he has sold over 500 kebabs.

"Today, I made RM1,000," he beams.

Mansur has also set up a stall at the Sultan Sulaiman Club yesterday, where there was pre-rally gathering.

His daughter, Faeza Mansor, 28, who operates a soup noodle business besides Mansur’s kebab stall, says business has been unusually good.

She estimates about 100 bowls of noodle soup has been sold so far.

"My sister doesn't even want to mince the beef anymore. She is too tired to do it!" She joked.

Faeza is being helped by six of her siblings.

1.50pm: Dang Wangi OCPD Zainuddin Ahmad in a press conference uploaded on Youtube today says the situation is so far, incident-free, and that no bombs have been found, despite earlier reports.

NONE“So far there have been no untoward incidents or situations of danger to the participants or the public.

“The roads that are closed are Jln Raja, Datok Onn roundabout, Dataran Merdeka, Jln Ampang, Jln Tun Razak, Jln Pudu, Jalan Sultan, and Jln Hang Tuah.

“Up to now, there have been no arrests by the police, and as I said, there are no cases of attention yet,” he said.

On the suspected explosives reported in KLCC, he said the bomb squad has investigated and found nothing but empty boxes.

“Similarly for the materials found in front of the Bar Council, we only found a bag and after inspecting it, did not find any explosives.”

He also estimates the crowd in the stadium to be 20,000 to 25,000 and up to 20,000 outside.

1:51pm: The crowd in the stadium has swelled to close to 30,000 people. They begin to sing the national anthem.

1.57pm: Outside Stadium Merdeka (main gate) - An estimated 20,000 people begin to move into the stadium.

Leaders of rally co-organisers - Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM), Felda Anak and Royalti - were seen on top of a jeep leading the crowd.

NONE2pm: Stadium Merdeka - Overall, the marches to the stadium has been mostly smooth, with the police helping to control the traffic.

There are impromptu marches all over downtown Kuala Lumpur and more of this can be expected because some groups, such as one currently in Masjid Negara, will only march after Zohor prayers, which means they will march only after the rally is officially underway.

2.10pm: Stadium Merdeka - The rally kicks off with the singing of the national anthem as thousands of participants are still making their the way into the stadium.

There are loudspeakers mounted outside the stadium for the benefit of those still queuing up to go in.

DAP Rasah MP Anthony Loke starts the rally inside the stadium, speaking in Chinese and Malay.

He leads the crowd in repeated chants of "Bangkit!" and calls on the people to vote out the BN government.

“Najib is only gathered at Semenyih Tesco. We are at Stadium Merdeka and we will rise to oppose BN,” he says.

Spotted in the stadium is Parti Ikatan president and former Umno minister Kadir Sheikh Fadzir.

2.12pm: Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia chief Safwan Anang takes the stage as first speaker, followed by representatives from the anti-Teaching and Learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) movement, anti-Pengerang Rapid project group and Save Jalan Sultan group.

2.15pm: Stadium Merdeka - PAS Johor rep Suhaizan Kaiat speaks on issues concerning Pulau Batu Putih and the Iskandar project in Johor.

NONEPAS chief Abdul Hadi Awang and secretary-general Mustapha Ali arrive in the stadium.

Shortly after, Tijah, representing the Peninsular Orang Asli, addresses the rally on indigenous rights and alleges that much of the Orang Asli land has been robbed from them.

"We are the natives of this land but we are denied our rights, our land is taken over... whoever is oppressed, let us arise together."

She says today should be remembered in history and that Orang Asli rights should not be denied, and advocates for them to be treated fairly and equally.

Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan and PKR veep N Surendran are seen in the stadium.

2.17pm: Crowd continue to pour into the stadium, consisting of Himpunan Hijau activists, Parti Socialis Malaysia (PSM) activists and several other groups.

The stadium has a capacity for 30,000 people, but rally participants have occupied almost every inch of the field, putting their numbers at an estimated 50,000 people.

2.20pm: Stadium Merdeka - An estimated 70,000 are in and outside the stadium. The weather is cloudy, but the earlier drizzle has stopped. A police helicopter is seen hovering above the city.

NONE2.20pm: Stadium Merdeka gate - Despite the police's warning to participants not to bring children, a family has ignored the order.

Suzilawani Mohd, 32, says she didn’t feel scared to bring her children to the rally because she expects that the government will not take a tough stand.

“Last time, I might be afraid because of the tear gas and water cannons,” she says, with her husband Naveed Ghalam Rasool beside her.

Asked about her reasons for taking part, she says she wants to experience the feeling of a rally before the election.
 
2.25pm: National Mosque - New groups of rally participants, with some of them wearing the iconic Bersih yellow T-shirts and holding PAS flags, start to march from the National Mosque to Stadium Merdeka.

The 3,000-strong crowd shouting "Reformasi" completely floods the roads leading to Stadium Merdeka.

Among them is Mohamad Yusof, a disabled on a wheelchair, who came from Ijok, Selangor, to join the rally.

2.25pm: Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh takes the stage and hits out at Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for taking credit for the abolition of the Internal Security Act (ISA).

"It is the rakyat that abolished the ISA!" He declared.

He added that the movement is continuing its struggle because 23 more people are still detained under the law even though the law had been abolished.

pkr johor skudai dinner 150912 anwar2.29pm: Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is scheduled to address the rally later today, issued a statement to Malaysians and supporters abroad, asking them to provide support to their fellow citizens in the country by spreading information about today's rally.

“Keep tweeting and posting all day, keep talking, keep sharing; every voice matters, every effort adds on to building a flood of hope, and by the day dwarfing the dam of intolerance and aloofness built by those who rule today. 

“That one day, the dam will break and sunlight will shine again in our lives,” he said in the statement.

NONE2.30pm: Jalan Imbi, Hang Tuah LRT Station - Despite the rally having begun half an hour ago, there are still many participants on the way to the stadium.

Many protesters dressed in yellow and green are spotted at the Hang Tuah LRT station. In addition, many Muslim participants have just started to walk towards the stadium after their prayers at the Albukhary mosque.

The stadium is about one kilometre away from both the LRT station and the mosque.

2.36pm: Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim arrives to wild cheers from the crowd and blasts of deafening vuvuzelas. The crowd swarms to the PKR supremo who made his entrance through the field. The emcee attempts to calm the crowd, urging them to focus on the speakers at hand.

2.40pm: DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang and national chairperson Karpal Singh who is on a wheelchair, arrive and enter the stadium.

2.50pm: It’s drizzling in the stadium. Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga is giving her speech. She reiterates that Bersih is a non-partisan NGO fighting for the people.

The electoral reform coalition, she says, is to safeguard the people's rights in the coming general election.

"Why are we here? Because we love Malaysia, we believe that the situation in Malaysia can improve. We have hope for a brighter future. Let us unite for a better Malaysia. This is the time we must fulfill our responsibility. Bersih does not side for anyone, we fight for the people's right for a free and fair election," she said.

NONE2.53pm: It is Himpunan Hijau chairperson Wong Tack's turn to give his speech.

Without wasting any time, he urged the people to rise up and change the government come the next general election.

"God gave us a wonderful and beautiful land, why do we want to destroy it?"

"Enough is enough, the people must rise up. This corrupt regime must be dropped. We must remove the corrupt government!

"We will come together in the next general election, we will choose a good government that will listen to the people, the choice is in our hands.”
 
2.51pm: According to a Twitter update from the police, the stadium has been filled with about 80,000 people as at 2.45pm.
 
NONE2.55pm: Many people can't get into the stadium and are hanging around the carpark.
 
The stadium is filled to the rafters. Many resort to climbing on the ticket stands, fences and walls to witness the proceedings.
 
Crowd size has grown to 100,000.
 
2.55pm: Jalan Maharajalela – Participants outside the stadium are having a carnival playing on their vuvuzuela trumpets while the cars passing by honk to show support.

3pm: Anak's Mazlan Aliman takes the stage. He starts his speech with a loud shout of “Undur, Isa Samad!” (Step down, Isa Samad!)

Pointing to the falling price of FGVH shares, he said settlers were suffering as a result of this.

"Before, Felda was a stronghold of BN, today they rise to challenge them. This time, the Felda people will rise and pave the way for us to Putrajaya," he declares.

3.04pm:
The first part of the rally's programme has ended. Popular singer Ito from the rock group Blues Gang sings a song called, Ubah ini kali lah (Let's change this time), followed by a poetry reading by national laureate A Samad Said.

He recites his latest poem, Di Atas Padang Sejarah, to the background of soft music.

He jokes that he had never expected that his poetry could be used as a weapon in this country.

“Even poems have become weapons,” he says in a short speech before reciting his poem.

He adds that he has always wanted to witness a "sea of humanity".

“In my life... I am already 80, I have always dreamed of witnessing a sea of souls. This is it. Change now,” he said.
 
Pakatan leaders will then take their turn to speak.

3.35pm: After Samad Said's poem, singer Ito returns to the stage and performs another song, which touches on the unity of all the races.

While enjoying his performance, the 100,000-strong crowd also perform the "wave" around the stadium a number of times.

3.22pm: Mohamad Sabu, better known as Mat Sabu, takes his turn to speak.
 
As rally secretariat chairperson, he thanks all quarters for making the rally a success, including the police department.

He called the rally today "a step towards Putrajaya".

“This is our last rally before heading to Putrajaya,” he said to a roar from the crowd.

NONEHe says Malaysians are holding concurrent rallies in Jordan, London, and Auckland.

Mat Sabu then tells the crowd about the SMS (right) that Malaysiakini had reported which offers participants money to participate in the rally.

The fake message told participants that their payment for taking part in the rally was ready for collection at PKR headquarters.

“Did anyone pay you RM150?” he asks the crowd, who responded, “No!”

“I do not intend to pay you RM150, but I would like to ask funds from you, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to ask for donations,” he says.
 
With that, the organisers began collecting donations from the crowd.

The cost of renting the stadium is RM100,000.
 
3.30pm:  Outside Merdeka Stadium - Some participants were seen shaking hands with the police in appreciation of their service. One attendee from Sungai Petani was spotted thanking the police before rushing off to take a bus home. The police responded with warm smiles.

“The police were good today. They did not disrupt our rally as compared to in the past,” he says.

A broadcast reporter from a television station, who wants to remain anonymous, said that she never saw any of the police marshals who were tasked in protecting the media.

"No, I haven't seen one," she says.

Her team comprises of five members, who covered the rally starting from Jalan Sultan and Central Market.

According to her, the police did not contact them before the rally, despite having submitted their contact details to the authorities.
 
NONE3.38pm: The police revises one of its earlier Twitter postings, clarifying that their estimation of the 80,000 crowd in the stadium at 2.45pm was a “technical mistake”.

“The real number will be announced by the Kuala Lumpur police chief or a district police chief,” read the latest message.
 
3.44pm: DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng declares the rally today as a countdown to "merdekakan Malaysia".

"I think there are about 90 days left to ‘merdekakan’ Malaysia," he says, referring to the much-awaited national polls.

Taking a swipe at BN policies, he says the ruling coalition only knows how to grab the people’s money.

NONE"From their left hand, they give you RM500 of BR1M, from their right, they take back the money via 1Malaysia cameras.

"I trust, with your presence today, we are sending a loud message that we don't want a crony government, we want a government of the people,” he says.

Lim charges BN as incapable of facing off against Pakatan on issues and instead played on racial sentiments.

He takes aim at several BN leaders, but when he raises the name of Umno Wanita chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, the stadium breaks into a loud "boo".

"I believe the wave of change is not only in peninsula, but also in Sabah and Sarawak.

"Let us, from today, begin the countdown to make this country independent of BN!" he declares.

3.51pm: PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang takes the stage, boasting of the performance of Pakatan-led states and calling for a second independence for Malaysia.
 
"When we ruled in Terengganu for a term, we abolished tolls in the state. If we take over Malaysia, we can do the same," he said.

Hadi also attempted to impress the spirit of cooperation and compromise within Pakatan.

"When we formed the government in Perak, even though PAS had the least seat, we were still given the menteri besar's post - this is the spirit of Pakatan Rakyat," he said.
 
3.52pm: Earlier at about 12pm, Mohamad Sabu, who is the rally's secretariat chairperson, told Malaysiakini that the organiser will not entertain controversial carpet dealer Deepak's request to speak in the stadium.

"No, we already have many NGOs who want to speak in the rally, (there is) no more space," said the PAS deputy president.
 
NONE
3.54pm: There is a heartening moment when disabled Abdul Hakim Fauzi, 20, showed his determination in participating in the rally.
 
Unable to speak, Hakim showed the PAS trademark hand sign for ‘Takbir’ to express his happiness in being present at the rally.

His father, Mohd Fauzi Jalil, 49, explains that his son was hit by a motorcycle in Kluang, Johor on the eve of Bersih 2.0 two years ago.
 
3.58pm: Jordan - Malaysians in the Middle East nation reported that after Friday prayers, the undergraduates from Mu’tah Jordan have gathered at the snow-covered Tarawneh Square in the four degrees celcius weather.

NONE“Although it is cold, we are filled with the spirit of the rally as a sign of our concern for Malaysia,” said Suhaila Lukman in an email statement.

She says although they are unable to be in Kuala Lumpur, they are there in spirit and prayer, and share the youth’s aspirations for change.

“Our rally lasted around 30 minutes accompanied by speeches from the student representatives, followed by prayers and shouts of ‘Takbir',” she reports.
 
4.10pm: Emcee and Sungai Petani MP Johari Abdul says the organiser will need to pay RM100,000 for renting the Stadium Merdeka.

Therefore, he urges the crowd to continue giving them financial support.

NONE4.14pm: Opposition leader and PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim finally takes the stage to address the excited crowd.

Recalling all the promises offered by Pakatan, including the abolition of National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) and the reduction of petrol prices, he appeals to the people to give the opposition coalition the opportunity to lead the government.

“We ask for the chance (to rule the nation), so that the people's voice will become the sacred voice in ruling this country. Suara rakyat, suara keramat (people's voice is the sacred voice),” says Anwar, stressing that Pakatan will listen to all the wishes of the people.

NONEAnwar also mentions that Pakatan would support the multiple-stream education system if it captures Putrajaya.

Citing the Mandarin language as an example, he says Mandarin is not only the language for the Chinese ethnic group, but also an important economic language in this globalised world.

The charismatic leader also raises the controversial deals involving Boustead-Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT), businessperson Deepak and Selangor Wanita Umno chief Raja Ropiaah Raja Abdullah.

He says that the Selangor state government will never allow the land involved in the deals to be developed.

“I told Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim... that Pakatan Rakyat will not allow the robbed land to be developed.”

NONEAnwar mocks Umno delegates for shedding tears at their general assembly last year over a song lamenting the supposed oppression of the Malays.

Singing the song about Malays losing their property, Anwar declares, "Malays lost their land because you (Umno) stole them!"

"Who stole the Malay reserve lands? Who stole the cows?" he continues as the crowd shouts “Umno!”

Emulating the father of independence, Tunku Abdul Rahman, who called out "Merdeka" seven times during the country's independence declaration, Anwar leads the stadium in the same ritual, calling out "Merdeka!" seven times as the crowd responds "Rakyat!"

"Like how our forefathers called out, we repeat that oath and this time shall achieve true independence of the people," he says.

4.20pm: A recording of a press conference by Dang Wangi district police chief Zainuddin Ahmad has been uploaded, clarifying that the rally attendance is around 40,000 to 45,000.

NONE“From my reading, the rally was attended by about 40,000 to 45,000 people,” he said.

The police has earlier estimated the crowd size on its Twitter as 80,000 at 2.45pm before retracting it one hour later on grounds that it was a “technical mistake”.

Zainuddin said that there were no untoward incident during the event and that no arrest has been made.

“All police personnel were able to perform their duties and responsibilities properly, without any untoward incident.”

As for traffic, he says there was a minor congestion at Jalan Maharajalela and other roads leading to Stadium Merdeka, and that Jalan Raja, Jalan Lebuh Pasar and Jalan Maharajalela have been closed to facilitate the rally.
 
4.24pm: Those outside the stadium begin to leave. The people, mostly in yellow and green, head towards Jalan Maharajarela. 
 
4.43pm: A 10-point demand is read out by PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution: 1. Free and fair elections, 2. Save Felda, 3. Restore Sabah and Sarawak rights, 4. 20 percent oil royalties for petroleum-producing states, 5. Safeguard the future of civil servants, including teachers and security forces, 6. A clean and healthy environment, 7. Strengthen the national language as well as the mother tongues, 8. Free all the political detainees, 9. Save our heritage and traditional kampungs, 10. Better living standards for women.

NONE4.44pm: PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat leads the rally to pray, concluding the mass rally that started as early as 9am today.

4.51pm: The national anthem is sung for a last time. The emcee then calls on participants to disperse peacefully.

5pm: Speaking to Malaysiakini after the event, rally secretariat member Hishamuddin Rais estimates that there were half a million people in the rally today.

"I went to check everywhere. We had about 40,000 to 50,000 people in the stadium, about half a million, if adding in the crowd outside," he says.
 

Reports by Andrew Ong, Lee Way Loon, Abdul Rahim Sabri, Lee Long Hui, Kow Gah Chie, Nigel Aw, Zulaikha Zulkifli, Koh Jun Lin, Ahmad Fadli KC and Lu Wei Hoong. 

PHOTO ALBUM

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