EVEN a steady drizzle early in the evening of 15 Sept 2008 failed to dampen the spirits of thousands of Malaysians who thronged the MBPJ Stadium in Kelana Jaya for the Malaysia Day rally organised by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).
The rally was also held in support of the two recent Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees, Raja Petra Kamarudin and Seputeh Member of Parliament Teresa Kok.
Speakers, who included Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng, Selangor menteri besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, PAS secretary general Datuk Kamaruddin Jaafar, DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang, and Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA president Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, called loudly for the detainees’ release, as well as that of the others being held.
The crowd started trickling in as early as 8pm, and by the time PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim turned up at 9.40pm, he was greeted by the roar of approval from some 20,000 voices.
It was a harmonious event, seeing people from all walks of life standing and sitting on the damp field side by side, waving their Jalur Gemilang — which was handed out by the organisers — and culminating in a moving rendition of Negaraku. It was a true celebration of Malaysia Day as the spirit of nationalism and unity filled the air.
One can fairly debate that most of the flag-waving crowd were eager to get first-hand updates on the Pakatan Rakyat’s plan to topple the government on 16 Sept (which hasn’t happened). At the end of the event at 11.40pm, smiles were carved on their faces, and hopes for a new beginning soared higher than ever.