Get on with your duties, Pakatan leaders told

(The Star) – Pakatan Rakyat’s rally at Padang Merbok failed to attract the anticipated 300,000 crowd targeted, said Barisan Nasional Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said that while the haze probably played a part in the much fewer numbers, most Malaysians did not attend the gathering because they wanted to move on instead of dwelling on the results of the 13th general election.

“Most Malaysians want Pakatan to be an effective Opposition and stop behaving like sore losers,” said Khairy.

He said Pakatan should take heed of the failure to bring out the promised numbers.

“Pakatan leaders should accept the election results and get on with performing their duties,” he added.

PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli had earlier said 300,000 people would attend the rally.

However, several online news portals yesterday estimated a much lower turnout, with Malaysiakini stating it was a “lower than expected” 30,000 and the Malaysian Insider estimating it at “20,000-plus”.

Harakahdaily, however, quoted the gathering’s key organiser Johari Abdul as announcing that it drew a crowd of over 55,000.

Free Malaysia Today reported that the gathering lost steam after only about 30,000 people attended, with some participants seen leaving as early as an hour after going to Padang Merbok.

MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said the event was a failure because the turnout was only 10% of the promised 300,000 figure.

He said the gathering was a “political gimmick” by Pakatan to validate the many allegations against the Election Commission.

“By using the word black’ in the gathering, the organisers were also trying to associate the event with Pakatan’s claims about fraud in the polls outcome, such as the allegation of blackouts during vote counting,” said Dr Wee.

Federal Territory Umno secretary Datuk Seri Syed Ali Alhabshee said he was disappointed with the authorities for allowing the gathering to take place.

“I’m also worried because if this matter is not handled well, then we could see illegal gatherings taking place throughout the next five years,” he said.

He said the organisers were attempting to portray to the outside world that the country was unstable when many Malaysians were in fact opposed to street protests.

PAS central committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad defended the rally, estimating the turnout to be about 35,000 people, which he said was a success.

“More importantly, it was a gathering of the rakyat that cut across ethnic, religious and cultural differences,” he said.

DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang said that despite fears that untoward incidents might occur, people still attended the gathering “in the tens of thousands”.

“The people are unhappy with the election results because of electoral irregularities. In order to start anew, a total revamp of the electoral system must be done,” he said.