Many shops in Malaysia's Petaling Street may close amid talk of weekend rally

The Malaysian police used minimal force to disperse the 'Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu' protesters who tried to enter Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur despite being warned not to do so during the Sept 16, 2015 pro-government demonstration.
The Malaysian police used minimal force to disperse the 'Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu' protesters who tried to enter Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur despite being warned not to do so during the Sept 16, 2015 pro-government demonstration.PHOTO: THE STAR

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Petaling Street may be deserted on Saturday (Sept 26) over fears of a riot threatened by the organiser of red shirt protesters.

Kuala Lumpur Hawkers and Petty Traders Association chairman Datuk Ang Say Tee said about 400 of the 773 traders were afraid that there would be chaos like what happened on Sept 16 when the red shirt rally took place.

"Members have been calling and asking if they should close on Saturday. They fear that business will be disrupted.

"I have advised them to lodge police reports. We are afraid because we are doing business," said Ang.

He said if it was true that counterfeit or fake items were sold, it was not up to the red shirt protesters to take action against traders but the duty of authorities.

"If we are in the wrong, then City Hall, the police or the Domestic, Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry should take action against us, not them," said Ang.

Sungai Besar Umno chief Datuk Jamal Md Yunos had threatened "another commotion" at Petaling Street on Saturday if the demands of the red shirt protesters were not met.

Among the group's demands was that the ministry should act against the alleged sale of counterfeit goods in Petaling Street and that the traders should share a portion of their income with other races and stop the monopoly in the area.

He said that if authorities did not take action, then another gathering would take place, adding that a riot could even happen.

Jamal said he was acting as an intermediary between the red shirt group and the authorities.

The red shirt rally on Sept 16 was held in support of embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak and aimed at asserting the Malays' political power. It was meant to counter last month's Bersih protest, which called for Datuk Seri Najib to step down over a funding controversy and attended largely by Chinese.

The rally was largely peaceful, although police were forced to disperse an unruly crowd in Petaling Street with water cannon.