Pakatan’s 12th Jan Rally would only encourage the public to disrespect the law.

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Pakatan Rakyat has been accused of planning yet another rally in January to “run down the Government at the expense of national security”.

The rally, announced Wednesday by PAS’ Mat Sabu, comes hot on the heels of the failed Himpunan Hijau New Year protest against Lynas that attracted just 500 people and the 100-hour hunger strike that ended with protesters being photographed gobbling noodles at the 60-hour mark.

Mat Sabu says he wants to stage his event at the Stadium Merdeka on January 12 and has vowed that it will be peaceful. This is a tacit acknowledgement that although last year’s Bersih protest gave the Opposition a short term boost, the scenes of senior figures orchestrating disorder lost Pakatan Rakyat support, particularly from older voters.

No wonder Mat Sabu says this event will showcase good behaviour. Any trouble could cost Pakatan Rakyat dearly at the ballot box at GE13.

He will also be hoping that it is more successful than his last street protest. Last year he organised a settlers’ street march against the Felda Global IPO which, he claimed, would leave settlers landless. The listing went onto become the second-biggest worldwide in 2012 after Facebook and the windfall payments that accompanied it made settler families RM15,000 richer during the year.

Anything short of a disaster for Mat Sabu this time around will be a vast improvement.

But Umno information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan has slammed the planned event saying: “They hold illegal demonstrations, strikes, protest gatherings and others to attract attention and directly encourage the public to be uncouth and disrespect the law.”

Expect Pakatan Rakyat to increase its public presence via events like these as we near the election. Violence or no violence, it knows that such spectacles are essential in underlining its place as the plucky underdog fighting against the might of the Government.

But aside from rousing speeches about the need for change, don’t expect any of these events to include any actual vision for how Pakatan would govern and don’t expect to witness a detailed policy discussion. The Opposition parties have missed their chance to articulate proper policies. From here on in, it is demonstrations and slogan all the way.  –  The Choice