Thursday 30 August 2012

No confirmation of seats for public at Bukit Jalil

Despite Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim’s assurance that the public may join the Merdeka Day celebrations at Bukit Jalil, ministry officials could not confirm the number of seats allocated.

A ministry spokesperson met after the event’s technical briefing this evening told Malaysiakini that the stadium has a capacity of about 90,000 and that seats were indeed allocated.

However when pressed about the number of seats, she said, “I’m not sure. It is whichever seats that are not tagged (as reserved).

NONE“The ones that are tagged for those who would be brought in, such as Umno, MCA, and Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress (Kimma),” said Jasminawati Jamin, an official from the ministry’s corporate communications department.

She also said that she is unaware whether opposition leaders are invited and promised to contact Malaysiakini with an answer.

On Monday, Information Ministry secretary-general Kamaruddin Siaraf said the celebrations in Bukit Jalil are for invited guests only, while members of the public, including opposition party members, can watch the performances from four screens outside the stadium.

However, Rais apparently reversed his subordinate’s statement today when Utusan Malaysia quoted him saying that the event was open to all.

“If (DAP parliamentary leader Lim) Kit Siang comes early, (he) can even sit in front, with the prime minister,” he reportedly said.

Jasminawati said that members of the public should come as early as 3pm for the 8.30pm event in order to avoid traffic congestion.

She also pointed out that LRT services has been extended to 1am, and rides to and from the Bukit Jalil station are free of charge.

‘Pre-performances to keep crowds occupied’
Earlier in the briefing, Selangor Culture and Arts Department director Ghazali Bidin told the media, the police, and several other committees involved in the event’s preparations that there will be two ‘pre-performances’, both within and outside the stadium.

The first would run from 3pm to 5pm, whilst the second would run from 6pm to 7pm.

“The purpose is to draw in the crowds,” he said, in addition to keeping them occupied.

NONEGhazali (left) also said that the prime minister is scheduled to greet members of the public who could not get a seat in the stadium and had to enjoy the performances from tents, at 10.30pm.

To prevent those inside the stadium from rushing out to meet the prime minister and crash into the crowd outside, projected at 40,000-strong, he said there will be performances and lucky draws to keep the crowd seated.

Among the gifts are a Proton Preve car, iPhone 4S smartphones, New iPad tablets, and more.

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