KUALA LUMPUR - Organisers of the anti-Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) rally are happy with crowd turnout and support they received at Padang Merbok here Saturday.
"I am very happy with the turnout. I think it was as expected," said Bersih 2.0 chairperson, Maria Chin Abdullah.
Scores were seen at Maju Junction, one of the meeting points of the rally as early as noon.
At the Jalan Tun Perak-Jalan Raja junction, policemen were seen manning roads as green-clad protesters mingled by the side of the road waiting for others to arrive.
Police had warned the participants to stay away from Dataran Merdeka and the crowds respected the police cordon and did not breach it.
Dang Wangi OCPD Asst Comm Zainol Samah said between 5,000 and 7,000 people participated in the rally.
"Education on the TPPA still needs to take place. The whole document is 6,000 pages long, and the Government has yet to explain it to the rakyat in a simplified form," said Maria.
She added that there should not be a rush to sign the TPPA as it would affect all Malaysians.
Subang Jaya MP R. Sivarasa was also quite happy with the turnout, and added that the next step was to educate the people on the TPPA and its implications.
"The reality is that the TPPA is a complex issue. It is not that easy to get the grassroots to understand it and that is the challenge now faced by those opposed to it," he added.
Sivarasa said the onus was on those opposed to the TPPA to go down to the ground and educate the public.
"The majority of Malaysians do not understand the TPPA, and the danger is that they will only begin to understand it when they are directly affected," he added.
Similar views were shared by Parti Sosialis Malaysia chairman Dr Nasir Hashim, who said the TPPA would be an added burden on the people.
"The people are already burdened with the Goods and Services Tax. The TPPA will double or triple their burden," said Nasir.
When approached, Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar said that educating the public and mobilising the grassroots to oppose the TPPA was an ongoing process.
"We have to work during the next two to three years," said Jeyakumar.
Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu also voiced his disapproval of the TPPA.
"The agreement will benefit the capitalists. Private companies will profit, not the rakyat," he said.
He added that he hoped the rally would open the eyes of the people, saying that the TPPA could make Malaysians victims of local and international monopolies.