Malacca Raya will not be safe, warns organiser of Red Shirt gathering on Oct 10

Riot police protect the entrance to Chinatown from "Red Shirt" demonstrators during a rally to celebrate Malaysia Day, on Sept 16, 2015.
Riot police protect the entrance to Chinatown from "Red Shirt" demonstrators during a rally to celebrate Malaysia Day, on Sept 16, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - The predominantly Chinese Malacca Raya area will "not be safe" when as many as 10,000 #Merah169 "Red Shirt" followers gather there this weekend seeking justice for Malay immigration officers allegedly beaten by Chinese gangsters last week, the organiser has warned.

Former soldier and head of the Association of Armed Forces Veterans Mohd Ali Baharom, who is popularly known as Ali Tinju, told a press conference: "I will say Malacca Raya will not be safe," as he announced the gathering on Saturday (Oct 10), reported The Malay Mail Online.

But he was quick to add: "But not be safe means just generally not safe lah (sic). Like if you don't wear your helmet and all it won't be safe. It is not like we are going to bring machetes and all that," when asked he meant by his warning.

Mr Mohd Ali said the group did not have a permit for the gathering, asserting that they would not need one as it would be a "sightseeing" event.

"We don't need a permit. We are not there to rally. We will be going there in convoys and such. It's just sightseeing," he said.

The gathering comes in response to an incident on Sept 30 where a group of men attacked 19 immigration enforcement officers over a raid that was conducted on an entertainment outlet, reported the news portal.

The New Straits Times reported on Oct 3 that five suspects have been arrested to facilitate investigations into the matter and inspector general of police Khalid Abu Bakar said a hunt was on for more people linked to the case.

Mr Mohd Ali said the #Merah169 group wants justice for the officers, though he did not elaborate on how the gathering would bring the assaulted officers justice.

He was among the leaders that organised the Red Shirt rally in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 16, which was purportedly to support Malay pride in the wake of the Bersih 4 rally calling for the ouster of Prime Minister Najib Razak. The rally forced the closure of Chinese-run shops and establishments in the vicinity over fears of violence.

Critics of the rally say it was intended to divert public attention from the scandals plaguing the Najib administration by turning it into a racial issue.