By Ronnie Klassen

Kota Kinabalu..Saturday..24th.July.2010…..The countdown has begun for the launch of Pakatan Friends – a movement that aims to reach out to East Malaysians and unite them into a voting force ahead of the 13th General Election.

Sabah PKR communications director Ronnie Klassen said the launch slated for Saturday at the Hotel Yaho in Sembulan will be covered live on  from 2pm onwards.

“It is the young Sabahans and Sarawakians who will hold in their hands the future of Malaysia. That’s why we are focusing all our efforts to reach them and explain to them why they must engage themselves in our struggle for democracy and justice,”said Ronnie

“They should not close their eyes, that was the way of the previous generation. The next GE is a very crucial one and East Malaysians must come forward and be a part of the change. They must lead the change and not forever be the ‘fixed deposit’ for Umno and BN.”

More than two hundred people have indicated their wish to participate in the Pakatan Friends launching,while millions will be watching this live on the live broadcast.The next stop will be Kuala Lumpur in mid-August and Sarawak in mid-September.

“The aim of Pakatan Friends is to reach out to young East Malaysians who do not have any political affiliations or have not registered as voters yet. Apart from the home states, we also want to target those who have gone to the peninsula to work,” said Ronnie.

“In the peninsula, we will start off with Kuala Lumpur and on the list is also Johor because of its proximity to Singapore where a lot of Sabahans and Sarawakians are working. They do not have to join any of the Pakatan parties but we urge them to listen to our message of reform and spread it to their friends and families.”

Pakatan Friends will also set up committees to provide networking and support services . East Malaysians working in the peninsula who have lost their jobs due to the recession can also approach it for help to find new or temporary employment.

“Pakatan Friends is not just a recruitment drive for party membership or voters. Our first aim is to create awareness. Then we also want to create planks for friendship, networking and communication. We want to stay in touch with young Sabahans and Sarawakians and for those working outside East Malaysia, we want to help them to stay in touch with their homeland,” Ronnie said.

“As it grows, Pakatan Friends will expand its range of community services. Our networking is not small, so we can make use of it. For example, those who have been laid off can approach us and we will try our best to find them new jobs.We also want to encourage them to go home and vote in the next GE. If they are already registered voters in the peninsula, we will ask them to encourage their friends and families still in Sabah and Sarawak to vote for Pakatan for change.”