The crowd did not let the rain dampen the ceramah and waited patiently for the former Malaysian Bar Council chairman to arrive from Labis where she also spoke at a ceramah.
Almost 70% of the crowd were Indians, and throughout the evening, they roared and cheered with chants of ‘Ubah’, ‘Lawan Tetap Lawan’ and ‘Ini kalilah’ heard every now and then.
A visibly touched Ambiga, who was “mobbed” by the crowd on her arrival, said: “I am really very touched by your enthusiasm and spirit, standing in the rain. You must all really be ready for change!”
The crowd gave a rousing round of applause.
She told the crowd that they must come out in full force to vote for a clean government administration.
“This is your responsibility once every five years. You must fulfill this responsibility to yourself, your children and to the country.
“Your vote is secret, so vote wisely with your conscience and without fear or favour. When you go to the polls on Sunday (May 5), make sure your ballots are not smeared by the indelible ink on your finger.
“The Election Commission claims that the ink would dry within five seconds. We cannot verify that and so please be careful or your stained ballots would be wasted,” she added.
Earlier, Johor PKR chairman and Segamat candidate Chua Jui Meng also spoke to the crowd.
“Unlike the racist and corrupt Umno-led Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Rakyat offers justice, peace and equality for all, including Indians.
“BN’s 56-year rule has created unequal distribution of wealth, resulting in poverty among Indians and other vulnerable groups. Pakatan will ensure fair and effective distribution of national wealth, especially the needs of the marginalised groups.
“Pakatan will resolve the problem of the 300,000 stateless Indians within 100 days of a Pakatan administration,” he said.
Chua said one of the promises in Pakatan’s manifesto is to set up a RM5 billion National Housing Board to build 150,000 decent and affordable housing for marginalised groups, especially for displaced Indian plantation workers.
“Another significant promise is the RM300 per pupil yearly for all schools, thereby benefiting all Tamil schools.
“We will also invest in technical and vocational training coupled with apprenticeship programmes to provide an alternative education and career path for school drop outs from low income families, including Indians.
“We aim to create one million new job opportunities for the people by gradually reducing dependence on foreign labour,” he said, adding “this is what a real caring government is about”.
“Our Buku Jingga and manifesto’s priority and focus are on the people’s welfare, unlike the BN’s focus on cronies. Minimum wage of RM1,100 per month backed by a RM2 billion facilitation fund would help ease the financial burden of families,” Chua said.
He said Pakatan would also put in place the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) and to eliminate deaths in police custody and custodial deaths.
Incumbent MP under pressure
Chua said various people-friendly schemes would be launched to aid single mothers and education would be free for all from primary to tertiary levels.
“The PTPTN would be scrapped and all loans written off to ease the burden on graduates who are struggling to employed or to earn a decent living to start families,” he said, adding that the price of retail fuel would be reduced to create a domino effect to reduce the price of goods and services.
Chua said Anwar had consistently said that his Pakatan government would rid of all BN’s race-based policies to benefit all Malaysians.
Chua will be challenging Segamat’s incumbent MP, Dr S Subramaniam from MIC/BN in the May 5 polls. Ground reports indicate that Chua is fast making inroads among the voters, especially the Chinese voters, in the contituency.
The decision to invite Ambiga for his ceramah is said to be with the intention of drawing the Indian support to him.
There are 47,115 voters in Segamat, of which Chinese are 45.6%, Malays (44.3%), Indians (9.9%) and the rest is made up of the Orang Asli, Sarawakians and others.
[photos provided by Chua Jui Meng’s team]