Democ­racy, M’sian style

Po­lice con­vey thanks to or­gan­is­ers for or­derly show

The Star Malaysia - - Front Page - Re­ports by FARIK ZOLKEPLI, AUSTIN CAMOENS, M. KU­MAR, JUSTIN ZACK, FATIMAH ZAINAL, JOASH EE DE SILVA, AL­LI­SON LAI and VIN­CENT TAN

Although the an­tic­i­pated num­ber of par­tic­i­pants didn’t show up, the mes­sages on the fore­heads, T-shirts and ban­ners of those who did were loud and clear. Yet, the crowd of thou­sands kept their cool, voic­ing their griev­ances over Icerd in true Malaysian spirit – peace­fully and in a hol­i­day mood.

KUALA LUMPUR: The rally to re­ject the In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion on the Elim­i­na­tion of All Forms of Racial Dis­crim­i­na­tion (Icerd) at Jalan Raja here ended ear­lier than sched­uled fol­low­ing rain in the fed­eral cap­i­tal.

The assem­bly, which be­gan at 2pm was to have ended at 6pm but some of the par­tic­i­pants be­gan to dis­perse as early as 4.30pm when it be­gan to rain.

Among the crowd were for­mer prime min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Tun Razak, Umno pres­i­dent Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi and PAS pres­i­dent Datuk Seri Ab­dul Hadi Awang. Dr Ah­mad Zahid and Hadi also ad­dressed the crowd, all of whom wore black and white at­tire.

Dr Ah­mad Zahid said the rally sym­bol­ised the unity of the Mus­lims and Malays in the coun­try. “De­spite the scorch­ing heat and the prospect of rain, we are all still here.

“The co­op­er­a­tion of Umno and PAS is in the name of Is­lam, but we will not for­sake other faiths or those of other races,” he said.

Dr Ah­mad Zahid said he waited for three hours to give his speech and would have waited a lot longer as the sheer spirit of the par­tic­i­pants was in­spir­ing.

“Umno and PAS will al­ways de­fend Mus­lims in the coun­try along with the rest of Malaysians,” he said.

He added that he was proud that var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal par­ties and NGOs came to­gether to protest Icerd.

Ear­lier, the or­gan­is­ers re­ported that the rally was held as a ges­ture of grat­i­tude over the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion not to rat­ify the con­ven­tion.

On Nov 23, the Prime Min­is­ter’s Depart­ment said the Pakatan Hara­pan gov­ern­ment would also con­tinue to up­hold the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion, which en­shrined the so­cial con­tract agreed by all races dur­ing the for­ma­tion of the na­tion.

Mean­while, mem­bers of a coali­tion of silat as­so­ci­a­tions marched to­wards Is­tana Ne­gara to present a

mem­o­ran­dum to the Yang di-Per­tuan Agong to protest the “rat­i­fi­ca­tion” of Icerd and vow­ing to de­fend the Malaysian Con­sti­tu­tion.

Wear­ing colour­ful tra­di­tional Malay at­tire, the silat ex­po­nents, who called them­selves Gabun­gan Silat Mem­per­ta­hankan Per­lem­ba­gaan, be­gan their 3km walk from the Fed­eral Ter­ri­tory mosque to the palace, which was heav­ily-guarded by the po­lice.

The let­ter was re­ceived by palace of­fi­cials. The silat mem­bers did not re­turn to Dataran Merdeka.

City po­lice chief Comm Datuk Seri Ma­zlan Lazim said the rally pro­ceeded smoothly and safely. Po­lice es­ti­mated that 55,000 peo­ple at­tended.

“No out­ward in­ci­dent oc­curred. How­ever, we no­ticed that there were some who brought along lit­tle chil­dren to the rally, which is an of­fence un­der the Peace­ful Assem­bly Act,” he said.

He added that the po­lice con­veyed their ap­pre­ci­a­tion to the or­gan­is­ers for work­ing with the

po­lice in en­sur­ing the rally went on smoothly.

Po­lice he­li­copters were seen hov­er­ing above the crowd to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion while FRU per­son­nel were sta­tioned at var­i­ous roads lead­ing to Dataran Merdeka.

Six main roads around Dataran Merdeka were closed from 6am.

While po­lice pres­ence was ev­i­dent, PAS Unit Amal also helped to keep the crowd in check.

De­spite many fears about the rally, the par­tic­i­pants kept to their word and gath­ered peace­fully.

Cu­ri­ous tourists at the train sta­tion snapped pho­to­graphs of the rally go­ers, who shouted slo­gans such as “Hidup Me­layu” and “Hidup Is­lam”.

Out­side the sta­tion, traders were seen ped­dling rally mer­chan­dise such as T-shirts and muf­fler scarves.

NORAFIFI EHSAN/ The Star

In the spot­light: Sup­port­ers tak­ing a photo with Na­jib and Ros­mah at the rally in Kuala Lumpur.

— Ber­nama

Mak­ing their voices heard: Mem­bers of a coali­tion of silat as­so­ci­a­tions march­ing to­wards Is­tana Ne­gara to present a mem­o­ran­dum to the Yang di-Per­tuan Agong.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.