The Opposition-led ‘Black 505’ rallies are spreading in Malaysia. On May 8, 2013, tens of thousands gathered in Kuala Lumpur, the country’s capital, to protest the outcome of the recent election which gave the administration coalition a slim majority.
Three days later on May 11, another massive rally was organized in Penang which was attended by more than 80,000 people. In Ipoh, 30,000 joined a similar protest. Rallies were also held in Kedah and Perak.
‘Black 505’ refers to the May 5 General Election which was tainted by allegations that the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition committed massive electoral fraud to remain in power. BN lost in the popular voting but it still retained majority of the parliament seats. BN has ruled Malaysia since the 1950s.
Susan Loone observed the ‘Black 505’ rally in Penang:
Quite surprisingly, 85 percent of the multiracial crowd were young men and women, who came as early as 6pm, arriving in cars and motorbikes, carrying various party flags and banners, blowing their plastic vuvuzelas noisily in the packed stadium
Penang-Boy sees hope in the presence of young people in the rally:
I am very happy to hear that 85 percent at the rally were young Malaysians. It gives me hope that what we may not achieve now will be achieved by them. We need to change, to be truly Malaysians. Ubah!
Appum urges the government to discard race politics
I think the BN government should sit up and take note of the large crowd and do something more positive than keep harping on race.
The commenter might be referring to the remark of the Prime Minister who blamed Chinese voters for the loss of several administration candidates.
Using the hashtag #black505, we get the views of some Malaysian twitter users:
@Sandeep_D7 The rally yesterday was yet another spectacular one. The voices & spirit, just unbelievable.Penangites, we rock! #ubah #black505
@NuratikahRose I'm wearing black today even tho I'm not gonna join you guys. Supporting you guys from home!! #Black505
@simtzetzin Visit morning Markets, many wear BLACK & will go Stadium Batu Kawan tonight! Rakyat rising up to protest dirtiest Election
@atinjiha91 Expressing your anger won't change anything. Let's unite together to form a better nation.
@NgConnie #black505 and you, making our bond even stronger. not chinese/ malay/ indian bond. its the bond between Rakyat. it's us.
Malaysian students in Melbourne also organized a solidarity protest
Commenting on the video, TrainerStory urges protesters to respect the majority opinion:
please respect the majority of Malaysians who voted for the govt to continue its transformation agenda and I still respect the opposition who won Penang, Selangor and Kelantan.
Sincerely,a Malaysian who loves peace,progress and 1Malaysia.
Joanne Rachel Jankins was inspired by the ‘Black 505’ rallies:
This was the day that a lot of Malaysians participated in #black505. A talk to show our fight for democracy, to be a part of the protest of our 13th General Election here in Malaysia.
During that event, we were advised to wear black as a sign of our dying democracy here in our country. A sign of protest too. The amount of people who went was just truly amazing.
At such big events, we would usually find people pushing, drivers honking and asking us to move out of the way but no. Everyone helped each other and give in for others to walk. There were no signs of pushing or impatient acts.
Indeed it was a fantastic sight to see people gathered, just for the sake of our country's clean future.
ongtkhow explains why he didn’t participate in the rally despite his support for a change in Malaysian politics:
…allegations of electoral fraud should be channelled through the appropriate institutions, i.e. Courts of Law. However, tainted they may be or perceived to be such, those institutions are all we have at the moment.
…rallies are doomed to fail, as momentum fizzles out quickly, message lost, incurring only public condemnations at the end.
…. We have got to keep our faith in the sanctity of Constitution. We have got to keep our faith in the reformation of the System of Government, the reinstatement of the checks and balance amongst the four pillars of Government, the Agong, the Executive, the Parliament and the Judiciary