PETALING JAYA: A senior lecturer has called for a stop to provocative rallies that can spark racial tension, such as the Red Shirt rallies organised by an Umno division leader.
Prof Dr Ahmad Atory Hussain said the Red Shirt rally goes against the peace that Malaysia has tried to retain for years.
“Everyone has the right to organise rallies. It is part of democracy. But this rally goes overboard in expressing their tensions and feelings. It can jeopardise harmony and peace in Malaysia. This is not the Malay way. We are not Arabs. Our ways and cultures are different, he told FMT.
“When a rally is allowed, our security should be guaranteed,” said in response to plans announced by Sungai Besar Umno division leader Jamal Yunos. He intends to match a proposed Bersih 5 demonstration to call for Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down.
During a Red Shirt rally in September last year riot police were deployed to stop a group of rally-goers from forcefully entering Petaling Street. However, Jamal denied that the group was part of his rally, which was held at Padang Merbok.
Ahmad Atory said Bersih rallies had followed the law and the group had proven to run peaceful rallies. The Bersih group comprises 84 civil organisations who seek electoral reform, and have held four rallies in the streets of Kuala Lumpur so far.
Ahmad Atory advised Jamal to be patient and “perhaps have a peaceful rally if they are unhappy with a new party planned by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his supporters.
“The nation needs to be patient. Jamal needs to be patient. Malaysia is in the midst of dilemma over those who are for and against the ruling party. Having a rally that goes overboard in expressing its tensions is not the answer,” he said.
In any country, he said there are people who are for and against the leader. “Leaders came and go but rallies should not be done at the cost of a country’s peace.”