SANDAKAN: More than a thousand people turned up to hear Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim when he made a whirlwind visit here last Sunday.
Anwar managed to charm the crowd in two different venues with the first ceramah held in the Dewan Hakka at Mile 6, Jalan Labuk.
Sabah PAS deputy commissioner Hamzah Abdullah, Sandakan DAP branch chairman Steven Wong and several PKR leaders also addressed the ceramah audience.
A large group of Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) members in their yellow uniforms led by their Sandakan branch deputy chairman and supreme council member Kent Yong who is a lawyer were also present at the function.
Kent was given the opportunity to speak which could be a sign that SAPP, the largest state-based opposition party, had reached some sort of understanding with Pakatan Rakyat after a spate of bitter arguments in last few months on seats allocation to contest against the Barisan Nasional on a one-on-one basis in the coming general election.
It was reported in January this year that SAPP had indicated that they would go for two thirds of the 60 state seats.
Immediately after that, he dashed to Masjid Indah Jaya, Taman Indah Jaya Batu 4, to perform prayers and took the opportunity to meet the people there.
Anwar’s second and final ceramah was held at a remote part of Sandakan at Kampong Batu Putih, in Libaran, the constituency of Sabah chief minister Musa Aman whose residence is located about one kilometre nearby in the main road.
The road leading to the venue of the ceramah was dark and poorly lit with only the few PKR flags on the roadside gave some indications of the function.
However, after passing the chief minister’s residence, BN flags were also planted along the road which could be confusing to any first time visitor as the venue of the ceramah was not held at a known community hall.
The sound of the amplified voices from afar became the beacon to lead visitors at the end of the tarred road into narrow concrete roads; into the cluster of close kampong houses. Few canopies were fitted into a small open space between the houses and that was to be the venue thronged by about a thousand people.
Along the way, several houses were draped with political party flags, more noticeably BN flags indicating that rural Sandakan was still ostensibly a BN territory.
Many of the kampong folks were sitting under the stilt houses surrounding the open space to hear Anwar as there wasn’t enough room.
Anwar talked about PTPTN and the madu or honey that his party would bring if elected.
He weaved his way into the crowd occasionally making jokes and singing a song bringing much entertainment to the kampong folks who would most probably be lacking in this poor neighborhoods as the occupants are mostly laborers and fishermen.
The next morning, Anwar had a marathon meeting with his PKR Sabah leaders. He briefly spoke to the press at around 10.00am and rushed to the airport to return to Kuala Lumpur.