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Penang DAP draws a record 30,000
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Uploaded on Mar 6, 2008
Election heat in Penang soared with an unprecedented turnout of almost 30,000 people at DAP's final election rally leading up to the polls.
As early as 7pm, thousands had already gathered at the Han Chiang school field - the same venue that hosted the 10,000 who attended a joint PKR-DAP ceramah last week
At the peak of the ceramah, the crowd of about 30,000 spilled out onto the school compound and outer perimeters to listen to DAP candidates speak.
"The size of the crowd is unusual but (so is) the enthusiasm coming from them," said DAP supporter TH Wong who arrived at 5.30pm to score front row seats.
Organisers have hailed this as the biggest rally organized by BN opponents in Penang thus far.
DAP leaders - Secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, party supremo Lim Kit Siang and party chairperson Karpal Singh - received thunderous welcomes as they arrived at different times of the night.
It was a sea of red - with many supporters donning the colour - listening attentively and cheering each time a speaker drove home a point or took a swipe at the BN.
Taking the stage first, Datuk Keramat state candidate Jagdeep Singh Deo restated the case for a pro-opposition vote.
"We are not asking for a change of government, we are asking for a stronger opposition in state and parliamentary (representation)," he said.
Addressing the crowd of all ages, Bayan parliamentary candidate Lim Guan Eng also urged Penangites to "lead the change".
"Let us translate this show of force, people power into a people's victory," Lim added, prompting the crowd to cheer at length.
Drawing on Mahathir's comment that Malaysia needs a strong opposition, Lim asked the crowd to applaud the former premier for his remark.
"It's a bit late but better late than never," Lim quipped.
The atmosphere turned carnival-like as Jelutong parliamentary candidate Jeff Ooi took to the stage with an electric guitar to sing instead of deliver a speech.
The popular blogger-turned-politician belted out a medley of three songs - two popular Chinese songs and the official "Marilah mengundi (Let's vote)" song with a few humourous twists.
Other DAP candidates in attendance included Bukit Mertajam parliamentary candidate Chong Eng, Bukit Bendera parliamentary candidate Liew Chin Tong, Komtar state candidate Ng Wei Aik.
PKR candidates also attended the event, led by its Bayan Baru parliamentary candidate Zahrain Mohamed Hashim.
Will it translate to votes?
Met after the event, a beaming Lim was clearly happy with the turnout but reserved optimism as to whether the large attendance will translate into votes for the opposition.
Previous electoral experience - particularly DAP's Tanjung 3 campaign in 1995 - has shown that large turnouts at opposition ceramah does not necessarily correspond to votes.
At the end of the event, DAP Padang Kota state candidate Chow Kon Yeow announced that the event had raised RM123,000 in donations.
The crowd was also urged to wear red in support of DAP when casting their vote on Saturday.
Whether the strong attendance at this final rally will translate to votes for the DAP remains to be seen.
Camera & editing: Ng Kok Foong
Reporting: Chua Sue-Ann
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