For weeks Pakatan Harapan had been building momentum for its much-touted 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) roadshow grand finale. There were plenty of hype surrounding the affair with the opposition coalition hoping to pull some 100,000 participants to attend. Ever since July Pakatan Harapan has been holding talks in various cities, suburbs and villages nationwide to ‘educate’ the public on the on-going investigations into the state fund. Thus Saturday’s event was to culminate with this major gathering, which boasted an impressive line-up of speakers including former prime minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
Political analysts, politicians and the general public alike have all been weighing-in as to whether the anti-kleptocracy rally was a huge success or vice versa. Well as far as attendance is concern, the crowd was certainly smaller than widely anticipated. The lukewarm response could be attributed to a number of factors. For starters last Saturday was the beginning of the school holidays. So it could have just been a matter of poor timing. On the other hand, PAS claims the low turnout was expected since it is no longer part of the opposition coalition. PAS underscored that in previous rallies it was a major pull factor. Meanwhile UMNO stalwarts contend that the mega anti-kleptocracy rally was a bust simply because the public is bored with the opposition talking about 1MDB ad nauseam.
Another interesting observation made of the rally’s attendees is the fact that there were more Malays in comparison to the Bersih movement last year. Again speculation is rift on the underlying reason for the greater number of Malays participating. Most point to the presence of Tun Dr. Mahathir’s party in Pakatan Harapan as the main factor in drawing more Malays out that day. This has of course been disputed by both PAS and UMNO.
Now did the anti-kleptocracy attain its objective? Perhaps. Most importantly will it translate into votes for Pakatan Harapan? This answer remains elusive for many. Even political analysts are divided on the matter. But one thing is for certain though. Rallies are not necessarily a good barometer of support for any one particular party. It however shows that the rakyat cares what is happening in their country and that their vote will reflect whether they are happy or disappointed with the incumbent government.