Red shirts urged to end protest threat

KL minister says protesters have had their say; police arrested red shirt leader last night

Dr Huang Huikang (in red batik shirt), China's envoy to Malaysia, during his visit to Petaling Street yesterday.
Dr Huang Huikang (in red batik shirt), China's envoy to Malaysia, during his visit to Petaling Street yesterday.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA • "Red shirt" protesters in Malaysia have been told to stop their threats of holding another rally in Petaling Street, a predominantly Chinese area, today.

Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Muhamad said the red shirts already had their say during their rally on Sept 16.

"Sungai Besar Umno chief Jamal Md Yunos should stop. Going further with another rally might actually be counter-productive to his previous efforts," Mr Nur Jazlan told The Star on Thursday.

Police confirmed that Mr Jamal was arrested last night in connection with alleged statements that riots would occur in Petaling Street.

Mr Nur Jazlan said Malaysians were given the leeway to exercise their freedom of speech but they must not undermine racial sensitivities.

"That is why the police are taking action. Even as a Malay, putting aside my position as a deputy minister and Umno member, I think he should stop," said Mr Nur Jazlan.

Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, the vice-president of Parti Amanah Negara, a re-branding of the Malaysian Workers' Party, asked why Mr Jamal and the red-shirt protesters wanted to hold another rally.

"Are you saying your first rally was not a success so you need another one? People don't go doing big rallies every week. Bersih held rallies only once a year and even those had big messages conveyed and they didn't go around threatening people."

He said the Sept 16 rally had already tarnished the nation due to the "racist messages and slurs", which did not help the country move forward.

Dr Mujahid also questioned why the red shirts were targeting Petaling Street, adding that complaints about counterfeit goods should be made to the authorities.

Malaysian Economic Association president, Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim, who is also a member of the G25 group of prominent Malays, said it was not necessary to have street demonstrations.

"If they have good ideas on how to help the authorities deal with counterfeit goods, they should meet them and discuss it."

On Wednesday, Mr Jamal had warned that another "commotion" could take place in Petaling Street if the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry failed to act on complaints against illegal traders.

But prior to his arrest, he tried to distance himself from the issue, denying that he was involved in a fresh protest, adding that he was "not going to be in Petaling Street".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2015, with the headline 'Red shirts urged to end protest threat'. Print Edition | Subscribe