'Red shirts' could hold Penang rally, DAP warned

KUALA LUMPUR • The Malaysian state of Penang could see a protest similar to the pro-Malay "red shirt" rally in Kuala Lumpur if the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) - which controls the state - continues to stoke the ire of Malays, the Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia daily warned yesterday.

In an editorial for the newspaper's weekend edition, the editors writing under the shared Awang Selamat pseudonym said insults against Islam and the Malays would lead to more rallies such as the march last Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur involving some members of Umno and pro-Malay non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

"A signal has been sent that the same gathering can be held in Penang, which is controlled by the DAP, if the provocation game continues," the Malay Mail Online cited the editorial as saying. "The gathering has dispelled the psychological framework that Malays are a patient and tolerant lot, and that they are now ready to enter a more vigorous and riskier political phase."

The editorial did not provide details of the alleged insults.

One of the organisers of the rally, Malay NGO coalition president Jamal Yunos, last Friday mocked DAP leader Lim Guan Eng by saying that the Penang chief minister could pay RM30 million (S$9.9 million) to avoid similar rallies being held in the state.

The red-shirt rally 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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2015, with the headline ''Red shirts' could hold Penang rally, DAP warned'. Print Edition | Subscribe