BAGAN DATUK, Nov 14 — A Barisan Nasional bastion of nearly three decades, Bagan Datuk witnessed over 2,000 people gather to watch Pakatan Harapan chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim stump for the coalition’s candidate.
Held at the Arena Selekoh, the crowd exceeded the chairs set out for attendees and caused many to stand while watching Anwar extol the qualities of Datuk Shamsul Iskandar Md Akin, the so-called giant-slayer sent against Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on his home turf.
“We have to win both state assemblies and we have to win Bagan Datuk parliamentary seat (represented by) Shamsul Iskandar,” Anwar said, referring to PH’s Rungkup and Hutan Meilintang state assembly candidates, Munzirie Kabir and S Wasanthee, respectively, as they stood behind.
“If the support from the Malays here is solid, the Chinese here are solid, and Orang Asli here are solid, we will make history here in Bagan Datuk,” he said, drawing roars of approval from the mixed crowd in attendance.
Munizirie asserted to Malay Mail this was arguably the biggest and best attended rally in the history of Bagan Datuk, and said it has given him confidence that the spirit of reform flowed in the constituency.
“I know that it is not easy but I will try my best with the momentum and the wave of change that is happening throughout the whole country, especially here in Bagan Datuk,” he said.
Anwar, who arrived around 6.30pm wearing a tengkolok, a traditional Malay headpiece, was welcomed by chants of his name as the was transported to the stage, where he had to wait at least 10 seconds before the crowd could be calmed enough for him to speak.
Once he was done, chants of “reformasi” — the PKR war cry — erupted as he left.
The Bagan Datuk constituency has been held by Ahmad Zahid, the incumbent, since 1995.
Aside from Shamsul Iskandar, he is also facing challenges from Perikatan Nasional’s Muhammad Faiz Na’man and Independent’s Tawfik Ismail.
Tawfik is the son of the late Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, the country’s second deputy prime minister.
* The report previously misnamed Tawfik Ismail and has since been corrected