Mahathir: Malaysia's planned 'red shirt' rally not about fighting for the Malays

Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad (centre) waves as he attends a rally organised by pro-democracy group Bersih near Central Market in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 30, 2015.
Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad (centre) waves as he attends a rally organised by pro-democracy group Bersih near Central Market in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 30, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has called on organisers of Wednesday's pro-Malay "red shirt" rally to cancel the event as they are not fighting for the Malays.

Dr Mahathir said the organisers of the United Citizens' Gathering, also dubbed the Malay Dignity Gathering, had painted a picture of the recent Bersih rally as being racist to justify their own event.

"They are organising it because they said the Bersih rally was racist. But the Bersih rally was not racist as every race was there together. So they make Bersih racist to show that they are championing the Malays," he said after delivering a keynote address at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya on Tuesday.

Dr Mahathir added that the "red shirt" rally organisers were not fighting for the Malays.

"There is no need for the rally," he said.

The rally had been declared legal by national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar on Monday after the National Silat Federation (Pesaka), the official organiser, was given permission to use Padang Merbok, a field located away from Kuala Lumpur's Central Business District.

The rally was called to counter the huge Bersih march held last month, which was aimed at demanding Prime Minister Najib Razak's resignation.

Tan Sri Khalid, the Inspector- General of Police, had also said police would be deployed to ensure the safety of all in Kuala Lumpur. He urged Malaysians not to be taken in by rumours of non-Malays being told to stay away from the city.

Meanwhile, Pesaka president Tan Sri Mohd Ali Rustam said everyone was welcome to join the rally on Wednesday and could wear whatever colour they wished.

"Anyone can attend the rally aimed at showing unity," said Mohd Ali.