Minister: Race-based assemblies not good for unity

joseph_bersih

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians should keep away from “illegal assemblies organised by certain quarters” as it does not bode well for national unity, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Joseph Kurup said.

This is more so when such assemblies are race-based, he added.

“I’m not saying that they have no right to assemble. They do, but I suppose to me this is not the way to settle problems,” he told reporters, possibly alluding to a rally which Red Shirts leader Jamal Yunos has threatened to organise to counter the Bersih 5 rally.

“You can sit down together and discuss the weaknesses.”

Kurup, who is in charge of national unity said this after attending a Malaysia Day gathering here today.

Last year, Jamal had organised a similar counter rally in September, which saw thousands of people wearing red gathering at Padang Merbok, Kuala Lumpur in a show of support for Najib and Umno.

The rally took an ugly turn as it was soaked in anti-Chinese sentiment and saw racial slurs directed towards the Chinese community.

It was held on Sept 16, slightly more than two weeks after the Bersih 4 rally, which had a majority Chinese participation.

Bersih 2.0 had yesterday announced that it will hold its fifth rally on November 19, with one of its demands being for Prime Minister Najib Razak to step down.

The decision to hold the rally followed the lawsuits filed recently by the United States Department of Justice to recover billions in assets allegedly purchased using funds misappropriated from state-owned investment arm 1MDB.