'Red shirt' rally in Malaysia now legal, says police chief

 A pedestrian walking past the Petronas Twin Towers, shrouded in a thick haze in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 11, 2015.
A pedestrian walking past the Petronas Twin Towers, shrouded in a thick haze in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 11, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

KUALA LUMPUR - The "red shirt" rally on Wednesday (Sept 16) is now legal under the Peaceful Assembly Act, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar said on Monday (Sept 14).

The organiser obtained permission from the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to use Padang Merbok for the gathering, the Malaysian Insider reported.

Tan Sri Khalid said that the police would ensure public safety and security in Kuala Lumpur, urging Malaysians not to believe rumours calling for non-Malays to stay away from the city because of possible riots, the news portal said.

 

"Now, the rally will be allowed to go on. Although personally, I don't agree to demonstrations but we will allow it as it fulfils the criteria under the law," he was quoted as saying at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur .

"We will be deploying enough manpower and we are capable of ensuring the safety and security of everyone."

The National Silat Federation (Pesaka) is organising the event as a counter to electoral reforms group Bersih's Aug 29-30 rally calling for Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down. Many Malay critics of the Bersih rally have denounced it as part of an attempt by the Chinese to usurp political power.

This has resulted in widespread concern about the racial overtones of Wednesday's rally, especially with inflammatory remarks mostly posted online by "red shirt supporters".

Pesaka president Mohd Ali Mohd Rustam said his federation was organising the rally to remind the people to respect their leaders. Footage of the Bersih rally, the fourth since 2007, showed some people stomping on pictures of the Prime Minister.

"Kuala Lumpur belongs to everyone. Not just Bersih. We have no intention to pick a fight. But they have done it not once but four times. So here we are, we want to show that we also have the numbers," Tan Sri Ali was quoted by the Malaysian Insider as saying over the weekend.

He insisted that his rally was open not to those who want to incite racial violence but to all peace-loving Malaysians.