Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yatim has denied that the ministry’s Merdeka Day bash at the Bukit Jalil stadium is off limits to opposition party leaders. They are welcome to join the celebration on Friday night, he said.
“It is completely untrue. Whoever comes will be given a seat. The programme held is not for BN people only. Everybody can attend.
“If (DAP parliamentary leader Lim) Kit Siang comes early, (he) can even sit in front, with the prime minister.
“If (PAS president) Abdul Hadi Awang or (PKR de facto leader) Anwar Ibrahim come, we can prepare special seating in the stadium (for them),” Rais told Utusan Malaysia in an interview, adding that it would be good if the trio could attend the celebration at the stadium.
He said official invitations for the Merdeka Day procession at Dataran Merdeka on Friday morning had been sent to the trio.
On Monday, the ministry secretary-general Kamaruddin Siaraf announced that members of the public could witness the Merdeka spectacle at the Bukit Jalil stadium on four screens outside as the seats inside were only for VIPs, BN component party members, civil servants, schoolchildren and other specially-picked groups.
Kamaruddin also said opposition leaders were not invited into the stadium, but could join the crowd outside because they were “not interested” in the federal government’s Merdeka Day celebration and had even rejected the original logo for the event.
However. Rais the next day said the event is open to the public. According to the sitting plan revealed by Kamaruddin on Monday, seats have been allocated for civil servants, BN component parties and school children.
Despite the fact that the information ministry had sent phone text messages to the public urging them to be Stadium Nasional Bukit Jalil this Friday night, the sitting plan does not show any seats allocated for the public.
It is unsure if seating will be provided for the public outside the stadium.