The Star reported here Najib had spent about 15 minutes at the temple grounds near the Sibu waterfront.
Najib’s 3 Minutes at Tua Pek Kong’s Street Procession
Despite promises from the SUPP that he would lead the Tua Pek Kong’s Street Procession in Sibu, Najib did not. In fact, he hopped in without even entering the temple, signed the plague and left, all in 3 minutes.
The Star reported that he and his state and federal Ministers witnessed the “start” of the procession. This is totally untrue.
He came with his huge entourage, surrounded by security escorts. The SUPP candidate was also part of his entourage.
Even before his arrival, the emcee had requested the thousands of Sibu folks who lined the streets to applaud. When he came, the applause was scanty.
The emcee had also urged Sibu folks to clap louder when Najib speak, in order to make him happy. He did not speak. The orchestrated applause was not needed.
I was invited to lead the procession as early as April, 2010. I arrived at 6:00p.m. In previous occasions the procession would have started at 6:00 p.m., but this is Najib. He was scheduled to come only at 7:30 p.m. We had to wait for him.
My Party leaders including Lim Kit Siang, Chong Chieng Jen, Chiew Chiu Sing, Anthony Loke, Alice Lau, Stephen Lu etc had joined me to visit the Sibu iconic pagoda while we waited for Najib, but in the end, we decided not to trouble the organizers. We then were asked to station ourselves at the front, at the junction which we had little idea would be the point where Najib would alight and walk “into” the temple.
When he came, he had to walk less than many yards. Najib’s entourage squeezed and pushed their way through to the temple. It almost caused a stampede.
He did not enter the temple. He signed the plague. Then, he left.
On both occasions of his arrival and departure, we were a mere few feet from him, but he did not notice us. As Najib exited, his security details pushed their way through, oblivious to the safety of the women folks and children who had lined the streets in great numbers. At the station where I and my DAP leaders stood, we were pushed and shoved as well. A man from the Tang’s clan fell. His yells were not heard by anyone. Again, it almost caused a stampede.
Like a whirlwind typhoon, Najib was gone. I heard the organizers saying that the Prime Minister and his entourage of federal and state Ministers had rushed to the RH Hotel for DINNER.
Yes, they went for dinner, and the hungry folks thronged the streets.
We waited for the Procession of the Century to start. But we were held back. A hundred cars from all Government departments drove past us. Often, the tyres came within inches from our feet. What a waste of Government resources to show the presence of just one man.
The air of excitement was not the speedy entry and exit of the man disliked by Sibu folks for his unequal treatment of Malaysians under his “1Malaysia” slogan, but the start of the procession. It was expected that 50,000 people thronged the Sibu streets to watch the procession.
The organizers had placed us too far ahead of the troupes. We were then asked to walk behind the organizers. As I turned back, I saw that the only Minister from the BN/SUPP leading the procession is Dr Soon Choon Teck.
It was supposedly a historic and unprecedented Procession formed by 119 troupes with 7,000 participants. But such is the importance that the SUPP had placed on this Procession of the Century that only an Assistant Minister was left to lead the procession. Of course, all would know that Dr Soon was/is the one sidelined by the SUPP group led by Wong Soon Koh.
I had earlier seen Wong Soon Koh, Tiong Thai King and Lee Kim Shin arriving at the procession. From a distance of less than 10 feet, I was sure that they had seen us. In the past few days Lim Kit Siang had repeatedly asked Soon Koh not to be a coward but to taken on a debate on Islamic State. I had also repeatedly challenged Soon Koh to a debate on education and other issues vital to the development of Sibu. He had not replied and shunned the challenges. Was he about to avoid us?
As he moved his way forward to the temple it looked obvious that he was about to avoid us. Loudly, I called him, “Datuk Seri”. Soon Koh and his colleagues had little choice but to come forward to shake hands with me, Kit Siang, Chieng Jen and others. This is a procession. We would of course spare him the agony of embarrassment.
I led the DAP group of 12 behind the organisers. As we moved, we greeted the Sibu folks. We were exuberant and jubilant by the warm reception given to us.
We had also another team. Originally it was placed at position 119. That would be the last group. Then we were moved to 110. Then we were moved further forward to 60.
We were determined to walk the whole distance, from beginning till the end, a total of 90 minutes.
We believe in freedom of worship, and that must continually be honoured.
However, we register our discomfort that the Prime Minister did not do what the Sibu folks were told he would: giving a speech and leading the procession. And the SUPP candidate and the leaders were not a part of the procession!
Wong Ho Leng
Video clip from the Star