OPINION: As evening changes into night in Kuala Lumpur, the streets in downtown KL are strangely empty. What little traffic there is flows smoothly. You wouldn’t have thought that merely hours ago, the streets were filled with hundreds of thousands of Malaysians, most dressed in yellow, marching slowly but surely towards a common goal.
They came from all over our country – Malaysians of every race and religion, both young and old, able-bodied and disabled – all eager to participate in what may well be Malaysia’s largest ever rakyat’s gathering.
It was really a sight to behold, this great sea of yellow.
Though many were driven to the streets because of the desperate times we find ourselves in today, there was no anger as the Bersih participants marched through the streets of Kuala Lumpur, neither was there hate in their open hearts.
There were only wide smiles on their faces, and more importantly, there was the undying hope in their eyes:
The hope that we will have free and fair elections.
The hope that we will be ruled by a transparent government.
The hope that we will retain our right to demonstrate.
The hope that we will continue to strengthen our parliamentary democracy system.
The hope that that our national economy will be saved.
Reflected in their eyes, and carried in their hearts, are our entire nation’s hope that there can be a better future for us all.
They were here today, striving so hard to make this future happen.
Where were you?
Follow Theantdaily as the Bersih 4 story unfolds all through this weekend.
Bersih 4 brings brisk business to nearby food outlets
5:30PM COMMENT: Who says Bersih 4 is bad for business? At least not for traders and enterprises in areas in Menara Maybank, one of the meeting points of the rally participants.
Mamak restaurants and stalls and established fast food chains like Subway and Nando’s are doing a roaring business so much so that customers in fast food outlets are forced to wait 10-15 minutes to have their orders taken and another 30-45 minutes to be served.
Most of these outlets were patronised by rally participants.
“Business is exceptionally good this time around. Unlike the last three rallies where our business was affected, this time the situation is different.
“In fact, we’re a bit surprised. Regular customers as well as rally participants patronised us,” said a waiter from a popular food outlet, who claimed some patrons also gave them generous tips.
The rally this time was also orderly with no untoward incidents.
There were no reports by businesses of damage to property, unlike in previous rallies where a number of traders complained of their property being damaged by unruly rally participants.
Nevertheless, a few non-food or drink stalls selling electronic gadgets and toys along the walkways did experience a slight drop in business.
“But the drop was insignificant. Maybe because of the rally, parents decided to keep their children at home. It’s only expected,” said Hasinah Rahman who runs a toy stall.
Wonder which outlets were doing good business? Check out the following photos!
Bersih participants may love KFC and the colour yellow, but it doesn't mean that they're chickens! Other Bersih participants prefer to lepak at roadside warungs and enjoy local favourites!
Yellow goes well with Green! Subway and Starbucks outlets, both using green prominently in their brands, were hits with hungry Bersih participants!
Last but not least, since you're tempting fate by attending Bersih 4, why not try your luck? You might end up winning first prize if you're lucky!
Bersih 4 on the move as yellow crowds continue to grow
3PM COMMENT: After a slow start in the morning, things have started to heat up. The rally has begun in earnest now, less than an hour after the ‘official start’ of 2pm.
Earlier conversations with leaders at meeting points indicated that the participants – especially those at Petaling Street and Dataran Maybank – would begin their march towards Dataran Merdeka at 12 noon. Checks at 2pm indicated a crowd of 2,000 or so yellow shirts, leading some observers to wonder whether Bersih 4 would actually fail to launch.
These doubts were soon put to rest as the crowds grew, thanks to newcomers streaming in, especially those using LRT. Many supporters disembarked at Plaza Rakyat LRT Station, while others chose to continue their journey to LRT Masjid Jamek, boosting the crowds along Jalan Tun Perak.
By 2:30pm, Bersih participants had managed to fill the entire length of Jalan Tun Perak, while the crowd from Petaling Street merged with those at Menara Maybank.
Ten minutes later, the crowd had built up to an impressive size, and air-horns, cheers of Bersih and other chants filled the air surrounding Menara Maybank.
And at 2:45pm, the crowd began to flow down Jalan Tun Perak, heading towards Dataran Merdeka.
The rakyat are finally on the move. And it seems that Bersih 4 is now officially all systems go.
Next stop, Dataran Merdeka.
After weeks of planning will Bersih 4 live up to its hype?
2PM COMMENT: It’s past noon and the Bersih 4 participants have begun showing up at various points throughout Kuala Lumpur. At Menara Maybank and the surrounding Pudu Sentral station, groups of Malaysians decked in an assortment of yellow shirts – some emblazoned with the words ‘Bersih 4’ – stroll leisurely as they make their way to their designated meeting points.
They walk in groups, with their families and friends, pausing occasionally to pose, wave and cheer to passers-by and curious onlookers. The participants seem eager and happy, and spirits are high. After weeks of anticipation and planning, Bersih 4 has arrived and they, Malaysians of all races, young and old, are finally here.
Expectations are high for Bersih 4, as it has been billed as the biggest rally of its kind yet, having set a target of 1 million participants nationwide.
Thus far, major rallies have been planned in two other cities – Kuching and Kota Kinabalu – besides Kuala Lumpur, the birthplace of Bersih. There were concerns over whether Bersih 4 would actually take place, and pressure from the authorities intensified as the day drew nearer, culminating in the ban on yellow Bersih 4 shirts on the eve of the rallies.
Theantdaily spoke to a three-time Bersih veteran to get an idea of how things were getting along as the 34-hour rally gets into gear.
He said things were more controlled and peaceful this time around, adding, “The Kepong station used to have police, but there’s no police this time, and even the KL main station had no significant police presence.”
He expected the turnout today to be better than Bersih 3, and that the numbers will swell as the day progresses.
He said that Bersih 4 was proving to be popular because of the general unhappiness among Malaysians. “Just look, there’s a lot of first timers, people who didn’t care about the situation before are now starting to come out,” he said.
So what are the chances that Bersih 4 can actually live up to the hype and flood the city with a sea of yellow?
According to him, 100 per cent. “The way the T-shirts have been sold, you can gauge the numbers of participants. Most, if not all the places selling the T-shirts have run out of stock, and stocks were replenished a few times,” he pointed out.
“That alone is an indication of exactly how many people intend to take to the streets and attend Bersih 4 this weekend.”
It’s just been a few hours, and the participants are still coming in. How will Bersih 4 turn out to be?