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January 10, 2013

Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat 1

Approved – use of Stadium Merdeka for Jan 12 rally

Pakatan Rakyat’s application to hold its mega-rally at Stadium Merdeka on Saturday has been approved by the management of the venue.

“The management responded to the Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat organising committee that the application to use the Stadium Merdeka has been approved,” tweeted Batu MP Tian Chua who sits on the organising committee.

He said the committee is meeting to finalise preparations for the rally, to be held from 2pm to 5pm.

Bernama has since reported the stadium management Merdeka Heritage Trust said among the requirements set is to ensure that the gathering was limited to 30,000 people.

“The condition is to ensure the gathering did not exceeed the stadium’s capacity of 30,000 so as to safeguard the structure and assets of the stadium that have been declared as national heritage,” the statement was quoted.

NONEWhen contacted, Tian (right)however denied that there was such a limit.

“The letter explained that the seating capacity is 30,000 people, but they never said only 30,000 people are allowed to enter the stadium.

“No conditions have been set in the letter. We will discuss the details with the management tomorrow,” he told Malaysiakini.

Pakatan had announced their mega-rally last December, targeting to gather one million Malaysians in Stadium Merdeka.

This had hinged on the promise by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak prior to last year’s Bersih 3.0 rally, that the government will allow static gatherings at venues like Stadium Merdeka.

However, Pakatan was unable to make headway over the past two weeks, as the stadium management did not reply to their application.

Inspector-general of police Ismail Omar pledged yesterday that he and the police force will merely be facilitators and allow the gathering to proceed under the ambit of the Peaceful Assembly Act.

‘Historic decision’

At a press conference, Mohamad Sabu described the decision as “historic”, saying the approval letter had been received at 2.30pm.

“We only have to come up with a RM75,000 deposit as required by the management. This will not be a problem,” he said.

NONE“When we held Himpunan Hijau, we managed to collect RM300,000,” he said.

“I had expected (approval) after meeting the IGP, as there was recognition of the atmosphere of change. I think the (authorities) are seeing that the people are watching …”

He said that upon getting the approval, they will again meet with the IGP to ensure the smooth running and peacefulness of the gathering.

This, he said, is a historic moment and we are sure that the opposition could gather peacefully before the general election and are prepared to be the next government.

He also hopes that it would signal to the Election Commission and also media practitioners of the people’s demand for a clean election.

Mohamad, who heads the organising committee, promised that this will be a peaceful gathering.

Gathering to advance various demands

Mohamad, who is also PAS deputy president, said the gathering is also to advance the various demands of various non-governmental organisations like Bersih’s eight demands for clean and fair elections, as well as on Pengerang, oil royalty, students, cleaner environment (Lynas) and also Felda.

“All the interests of this group will be advanced during the gathering,” he said, adding that there will be two pre-rally gathering points, namely Dataran Anak Muda in Petaling Jaya Selatan, and also in Kampung Baru.

NONE“These pre-rallies have been approved, with approval being given to the stadium as the gathering point for Saturday,” he said.

Activist Hishamuddin Rais said that there will be speeches by various non-governmental organisation leaders, a poetry recital by national laureate A Samad Said, speeches by the opposition leaders and it would end with a doa recital by PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.

Also present at the press conference were representatives of PAS, DAP, PKR, PSM and NGOs like Solidarity Anak Muda and Empower.

Meeting stadium authorities and police tomorrow

Mat Sabu said the committee will be meeting with the stadium authorities tomorrow to discuss on the various do’s and don’ts.

However, he reiterated that generally, no conditions had been set by the stadium authorities nor was there a prohibition from putting up banners in the stadium.

“People will be allowed to walk peacefully from the various entry points and there is no prohibition for them from carrying banners. This is the guarantee that we have obtained from the IGP and police.

“There have also been assurances that no roadblocks will be set up,” he said.

azlanMat Sabu also said that they will be meeting with Dang Wangi OCPD Zainuddin Ahmad to ensure the smooth running of the gathering.

Tian urged the people to gather in numbers to mark the historic occasion to advance the various issues, and this will end with a declaration by the people for the 13th general election.

Hishamuddin said for further details of the event, the people can go to their official Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Mat Sabu indicated that Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan will also be speaking at the event, adding that 5,000 PAS Unit Amal members would be deployed to help control the crowd.

Additional reporting by Wong Teck Chi

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