MUSLIM WORLD REACTS

KL opposition calls for protest rally outside US Embassy

Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, chief secretary of the opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance, said Malaysians should protest against the ban as "it is against religious freedom and human rights".
Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, chief secretary of the opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance, said Malaysians should protest against the ban as "it is against religious freedom and human rights". PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN

The opposition has called on Malaysians to go out into the streets to protest against the United States' immigration ban by rallying on Friday outside the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, chief secretary of the opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance, said Malaysians should protest against the ban as "it is against religious freedom and human rights".

"Malaysians must protest the #MuslimBan by Trump using various methods. One is to demonstrate in front of the US Embassy this Friday," he posted on Twitter.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Wan Azizah Wan Ismail called on the Malaysian government to engage Washington in resolving the matter.

"Malaysia as a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which comprises 57 nations including those affected by President (Donald) Trump's executive order, must engage the current US administration through all available diplomatic channels," she said in a statement yesterday.

Other opposition and civil society figures called on Prime Minister Najib Razak to condemn the ban on behalf of Malaysians.

More than 80,000 Malaysians travel to the US annually, and about 8,000 are currently enrolled in American institutes of higher education.

Malaysia strengthened ties with the US during former president Barack Obama's administration and was on course to announce visa-free travel to the US at the end of this year.

 

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Although Malaysia is not directly affected by the ruling, it has often spoken up for Muslims around the world.

Earlier this month at Malaysia's request, the OIC held an emergency meeting of its members' foreign ministers to discuss the crisis involving the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar.

Datuk Seri Wan Azizah and other senior opposition lawmakers have demanded that the government convene a similar meeting to address Mr Trump's ban.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2017, with the headline 'KL opposition calls for protest rally outside US Embassy'. Print Edition | Subscribe