IT was the sort of crowd that would make the opponent’s heart drop to the floor.
There is no denying it, DAP’s Nga Kor Ming has succeeded where the other leaders in his party have failed so far – bringing in the crowds.
His intention to take on incumbent Teluk Intan MP Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong was no longer a mystery, yet an amazing number of people flooded the town venue of the ceramah held to announce his candidature on Monday evening (April 16).
Perak’s most controversial politician is clearly on a roll.
All those reports about his penchant for crude, colourful even racist jokes do not seem to have affected his Chinese fan base – he has some 400,000 followers on Facebook.
A family of four who arrived for dinner at a restaurant in town told the owner to bring out the dishes quickly because they had driven from Bidor about 60km away for the ceramah.
There were many big names who spoke that night but the crowd only came alive for him. He drew even louder applause than the DAP’s powerful father-and-son pair.
It did not matter to them that he does not have an agenda or plan for Teluk Intan, that he is not from the area and that the main thrust of his campaign is to scold the government and demonise Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
It seemed like a large number of the town’s Chinese voters seem to have made up their minds that he is their man.
It was as if the burst of infrastructure projects and programmes that Mah had brought to Teluk Intan the last few years has amounted to nothing for them.
It must have been a very difficult night for the Mah team to watch the overflowing crowd at the Pakatan Harapan ceramah.
The Teluk Intan contest is even being compared to what Lim Kit Siang did in Gelang Patah.
Teluk Intan has about 60,000 voters of whom 41% are Malays, 40% Chinese and 19% Indians.
It is the sort of mixed seat that DAP should be contesting if it is really the multi-racial party it claims to be.
So is it game over for Mah? He is definitely the underdog, even though he is the incumbent and it is going to be uphill for him on the Chinese ground.
But the other side of the coin is that Nga is facing the same problem on the Malay ground. The Umno camp has demonised him the way he has demonised Najib.
The Umno side has painted him as a Chinese extremist who has been known to use four-letter words on stage. He has come to represent all the old fears that Malays have about DAP.
He will have difficulty going into the Malay kampungs during the campaign.
Teluk Intan comes across as a Chinese town but a portion of the seat forms part of the Malay heartland that begins from the source of Sungai Perak far away in Gerik.
Nga is relying on Parti Bersatu Pribumi Malaysia and Parti Amanah Negara to deliver the Malay votes but the two new parties have no machinery on the ground. In many parts of Perak, they are like decorative items on the Pakatan stage.
Nga’s disadvantage now is that PAS is no longer around to deliver the Malay votes. It is estimated that PAS has some 2,500 supporters in the area.
Mah recaptured the seat from DAP in the 2014 by-election because the outstation voters did not return to vote.
He will have problems because DAP is campaigning to get the Chinese to return to vote this time around.
The opinion out there is that what Nga has in terms of Chinese support is equivalent to what Mah has among the Malay voters.
It means the Indian voters will decide which way the election swings.
Pakatan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was billed as the final speaker for the night but he was a no-show.
He had a hectic weekend in Langkawi and he was obviously in no state to make it to Teluk Intan.
But he appeared in a pre-recorded video lending support to Nga.
Many had turned up that night hoping to get a glimpse of him. They find it fascinating that at 93, he is still hungry for another go at becoming prime minister.
An elderly Indian lady was visibly disappointed when he failed to show up.
“I came to see Mahathir. He was with BN for so long, I want to see if he is really 93-years-old,” she said.
When asked if that meant she would support him, she flashed a mysterious Mona Lisa smile before walking off into the night. – The Star Online