Pakatan Rakyat tonight kicked off its campaign to defend the Hulu Selangor parliamentary seat with a rally packed with 5,000 supporters at the Kuala Kubu Bharu Mini Stadium.
The event, dubbed the 'Campaign to Save the Nation', saw Kuala Kubu Bahru crammed with cars, some of which made the journey from outside the colonial town.
Top Pakatan leaders included PKR deputy president Syed Husin Ali, vice-president Azmin Ali, strategic director Tian Chua, PAS supreme council member Dr Hatta Ramli and DAP's Kampung Tunku state representative Lau Weng San were among those seated on the makeshift stage.
Former Umno minister Zaid Ibrahim, one of those tipped to be PKR candidate for the by-election, was also present.
Both PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim and Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim arrived just before 11pm.
The Pakatan leaders took turns to work the crowd. All began their speeches by offering their condolences to the late Hulu Selangor parliamentarian, Zainal Abidin Ahmad, who died last night of cancer.
“Zainal Abidin worked until his last breath to serve the people. He has chosen a path full of struggle and sacrifice,” Tian Chua said of the academician-turned-politician, who served a short stint as Selangor deputy menteri besar when the state was under Umno.
The speakers then moved into a campaign mode - one by one touching on familiar hot button issues - the missing jet engines, the Scorpene submarines contract, widespread corruption and others.
“At the last general elections, Malaysians made a decision that change should happen. In Selangor, Pakatan was given the mandate, and we give the best service in return,” said Khalid to the cheer from the crowd.