KUALA LUMPUR • Some 40,000 supporters and members of Malaysia's ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition will swarm the Axiata Arena indoor stadium in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow night, turning it into a sea of the BN's iconic blue for the launch of its general election manifesto.
The BN's manifesto for the election that is expected to be held within weeks will be unveiled by its chairman Najib Razak, with the event broadcast live on television.
BN's 2013 election manifesto was also launched at the same venue on April 6, while a special manifesto for Selangor was launched on April 17 that year.
"The stadium will become a sea of blue. Everyone present will be required to wear uniforms in Barisan's official colour," Umno executive secretary Abdul Rauf Yusoh told the media after making a site visit to the venue on Wednesday.
Workers were seen constructing a large stage at the stadium, while technicians tested the sound system. This time, even the seats in the stadium, which appear to be newly installed, are blue.
Datuk Seri Abdul Rauf said 80 per cent of the preparations were completed, and that the night's programme would start at 8pm tomorrow. Datuk Seri Najib will deliver a speech later that night.
"We are all looking forward to the address which our (Umno) president (Mr Najib) will give to ensure our fighting spirit is inculcated in the hearts of everyone, including the election machinery workers throughout the country," he said.
He said all the leaders of the BN's 13 component parties, along with its members and supporters from all over the country, will be present at the event.
Of the 40,000 people expected, 9,000 will be inside the indoor stadium, while the remaining 31,000 will gather outside the venue. Those outside will be able to follow the proceedings through giant LED video screens.
"I hope that the spirit to win the 14th general election will be felt on Saturday night with the presence of Barisan component party members from all over the country," Mr Abdul Rauf said.
"We want our spirit to remain high so that we can fight and win the general election this time around with an even bigger victory," he added.
Mr Abdul Rauf said more than 400 police personnel will be on duty at the venue. More than 100 food trucks will also be stationed outside the stadium.
As the country's political parties gear up for the election with rallies and events, food caterers and canopy providers are also reaping the rewards.
LC Catering proprietor Zaini Atan said the caterer had been receiving orders from political parties for their events since last month. He said most of the events are expected to draw a crowd of 1,000 to 1,500 people. His company charges RM25 (S$8.50) and above per head, depending on the choice of dishes and whether the food is served in buffet or sit-down style.
Meanwhile, Live One Events proprietor Sunny Chong said he expects to make good money renting canopies to political parties during the election period. He said his company had already received bookings to set up tents in Batu Pahat, Muar and Kluang as canopy providers in those areas were fully booked.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK