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The Umno-linked mainstream media and news portal reported a crowd size of 100,000 during Umno's recent 66th anniversary celebration at the Bukit Jalil stadium.
But the reality was that the event was lacklustre and the attendance less than half what was claimed, prompting former premier Mahathir Mohamad to publicly advise Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is also the Umno president, to postpone the 13th general election.
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Let's go through the photos in the stadium at around 8.41 pm on 11th May 2012, which was when the main event of the 13-day celebration took place.
The final conclusion is that the Umno figure was grossly exaggerated. The crowd size is unlikely to be more than 50,000.
And this is telling given that it was a party function and members were given free transport and pocket money of at least RM30 to attend.
The National Stadium was constructed to seat 87,411 spectators, with enough standing space to make up an overall capacity of 100,000 people. The number of seats is exact, and the remaining capacity is found mostly in the main arena at the middle of the stadium. The seats are along 3 tiers, each of which is capable of seating 29,137 spectators.
On the Umno's 'big night', none of the tiers were fully occupied.
From the photographs, it was apparent:
There were many empty seats and this is a fact borne out out by the slew of photos already circulating on the Internet and other social media such as Facebook.
The top tier was almost 90% EMPTY!
Seats at all three tiers behind the display screens and the podium where the VIPs sat were empty throughout the event that night.
The central arena was also not packed with people at all, with space still to freely mingle and walk about.
GE-13 now nowhere in sight
The event planned by Najib was not just to commemorate the party's 66th anniversary, but it was also to provide him with a platform to announce the 13th general election.
However, the disappointing turnout especially coming hot on the heels of the April 28 Bersih 3.0 rally, where 250,000 Malaysians gathered at the vicinity of the Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur appears to have given both Najib and Mahathir second thoughts.
Earlier this week, Mahathir had unabashedly advised Najib to call for GE-13 only after the Hari Raya Aidil Fitri celebrations, whereas earlier in April, he had said it was right timing for Najib to dissolve Parliament as soon as possible, bolstering the-then expectations for a June ballot.
“Anytime after (Hari) Raya,” Mahathir told reporters on Monday.