KUALA LUMPUR • • Thousands of Malaysian Muslims marched at a rally yesterday in Kuala Lumpur to defend the "sovereignty of Islam" following claims that their rights were being eroded by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
The participants started gathering at the downtown Kuala Lumpur mosque of Masjid Jamek, a popular gathering place for peaceful demonstrators, hours before the rally kicked off.
By the time the rally started at 2pm, the crowd had swelled to about 2,000 people, who then marched to the nearby Sogo shopping complex.
Many were clad in white T-shirts depicting the country's nine Malay rulers and with the words "Daulat Tuanku" (Long live the King) emblazoned on them.
They also carried placards that called for respect for the country's royals as well as voiced support for the Johor Crown Prince for opposing the government over the signing of several international treaties.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Crown Prince, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, have recently engaged in a war of words over the powers of the constitutional monarchy to interfere in political matters such as Kuala Lumpur's now-retracted decision to accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and on appointments to the state government.
The leaders of the country's two biggest Malay-Muslim parties, Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), were also spotted at the event and several of them addressed the crowd.
Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki told the participants there will be more - and bigger - rallies to come, adding that Malaysians cannot accept their royal institutions being belittled, Malay Mail reported.
PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the gathering served as a "warning and a reminder" not to sideline Muslims and Malays.
"Our gathering, in conjunction with the start of the Ramadan fasting month, is meant to unite Muslims and establish harmony in the country," he was quoted as saying by The Star.