KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 ― Just days before the Bersih 4 rally this weekend, a group opposing it has said it will train its supporters with swords and parangs for self-defence.
Datuk Jamal Yunos, head of the anti-Bersih group that sees itself as “peace-loving”, said his supporters had displayed their martial arts prowess on Tuesday by breaking roof tiles and wood pieces with their bodies, The Star Online news portal reported.
“There will be a closed door training for our members tonight and they will use parang and swords for self-defence,” he was quoted telling the English-language news portal yesterday.
Jamal, who is also Sg Besar Umno division chief, stressed that the group will only act in self-defence during the August 29 and 30 rally.
“We will not initiate violence unless we are attacked by the 'yellow' team, then our people in red will be able to defend themselves,” he said, referring to the Bersih 4 demonstrators who have chosen yellow as their colour.
He reportedly pointed out that past rallies by polls reform group Bersih 2.0 had turned violent.
Jamal’s group has been dubbed the “Red-Shirts”, for their choice of colour to distinguish themselves.
According to Jamal, around 30,000 people will be mobilised from more than 200 NGOs this weekend for a counter-rally, with the Red-Shirts to meet at the city’s popular tech mall Low Yat Plaza at 9am this Saturday.
The group will then march at 10am to the capital city’s historic Dataran Merdeka, which is also the site of the covergence point of the Bersih 4 rally that is set to kick off at 2pm the same day.
Jamal insisted that the Bersih 4 rally should be held in stadia instead, saying that his group’s counter-rally is aimed at pushing for the former to be cancelled.
“The reason we are gathering there is to pressure them to cancel the rally as it brings no good to the country and people.
“We will call off our gathering, if they call off theirs,” he said.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said yesterday that the police will act without fear or favour against anyone who incites violence, regardless of whether they are the red-shirted group or Bersih, The Star Online also reported.
“We will take action against anyone who provokes other parties and this includes the red shirts,” he was quoted saying.
“The police are committed to maintaining law and order. Our priority is the safety and security of the people. Any act of provocation or violence will not be tolerated,” he said, also adding that Malaysians should not join the allegedly illegal Bersih 4 rally.
The overnight Bersih 4 rally that will be held at the city centre, Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Kuching in Sarawak, and other cities around the world, aims to press for institutional reforms and for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s resignation over his handling of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad controversy.
The five demands of the Bersih 4 rally are clean elections; clean government; right to dissent; strengthening parliamentary democracy and saving the economy.