KL rally will be peaceful: Organiser

Ethnic Malays are tired of the Chinese community opposing the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, said Umno member Jamal Yunos, a spokesman for the rally planned for Sept 16 in Kuala Lumpur.
Ethnic Malays are tired of the Chinese community opposing the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, said Umno member Jamal Yunos, a spokesman for the rally planned for Sept 16 in Kuala Lumpur.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A self-professed supporter of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who heads the coalition of Malay non-governmental organisations that is helping to organise an overtly anti-Chinese rally on Sept 16, says there is no cause for concern.

Although police have banned the so-called Gathering of Malay Dignity, businessman and Umno member Jamal Yunos told The Straits Times: "This is a peaceful rally."

However, he also said that the organisers should not be held responsible if any trouble occurs at the "red-shirt" rally.

"If anyone breaks the law, starts a quarrel, damages public property, it will be at the individual's own responsibility and he will have to face the law," said Mr Jamal.

"The organisers are not responsible if there is any trouble."

The main organiser of the rally is a Malay martial arts organisation called Persekutuan Silat Kebangsaan Malaysia (Pesaka), led by a former Malacca chief minister, Tan Sri Mohd Ali Mohd Rustam. Calls and text messages to him went unanswered.

Datuk Jamal, who has been acting as the Sept 16 rally's spokesman, said his 250 NGOs all give it their full support.

The rally is a show of Malay solidarity in response to last month's Bersih 4.0 protest, which drew tens of thousands calling for Datuk Seri Najib's resignation over a US$700 million (S$990 million) financial scandal, where the crowd was made up mostly of ethnic Chinese.

Mr Jamal said ethnic Malays are tired of the Chinese community opposing the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, which was given the mandate to rule in the last election.

"But almost every month, every year, there are gatherings to oppose the government. The Malays are fed up. The Malays have been very good and patient all this while," he said. "They (Chinese) control the economy and now they want to take control of the politics in the country. The Chinese are becoming more arrogant."

The "red shirts" have chosen the Bukit Bintang and Petaling Street business and tourist districts - two predominantly ethnic Chinese areas in Kuala Lumpur - for their rally next week because Bersih staged its protest in the Malay area of Dataran Merdeka, said Mr Jamal.

"If they (Chinese) can do it (rally) in a Malay area, we can do it in a Chinese area," he said.

Mr Jamal has extended an invitation to former premier Mahathir Mohamad to attend the rally, which will be held from noon to midnight.

"If he thinks he is Malay, he can come and I will make sure I will stand next to him," said Mr Jamal.

At the Bersih rally, Dr Mahathir reiterated his call for Mr Najib to step down, a call which Mr Jamal rejects. "He is a former leader. Our leader now is Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is also Umno president.

"He (Dr Mahathir) is not fit to tell Najib to step down. Only the 'rakyat' has the power to decide on that," Mr Jamal was later quoted as saying by the news portal, The Malaysian Insider.

Mr Jamal was summoned to the Dang Wangi police headquarters yesterday to be questioned after the rally was banned. No details were immediately available.

He was also behind an earlier anti-Bersih rally, which was supposed to be held on the same day as the Bersih gathering but was called off at the last minute.

A businessman with interests in importing cars and property development, Mr Jamal, who also runs a grilled fish restaurant, is Umno's division chief for Sungai Besar, a coastal town in the state of Selangor.

He has also called on former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who was sacked from his Cabinet posts, to resign as Umno's deputy president.

"I am very loyal to Najib," he said.

Mr Jamal expects 300,000 people to show up for the Sept 16 rally despite the police ban.

"They will come from Umno, Malay NGOs, ordinary people from all over the country," he said. "They will be coming here with their own money."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 12, 2015, with the headline 'KL rally will be peaceful: Organiser'. Print Edition | Subscribe