KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 — Opposition Islamist party PAS and Malay rights group Perkasa distanced themselves from the controversial “red shirt” rally planned for September 16 in the city that has been touted by unknown groups as a counter to the Chinese dominated Bersih 4 protest last month.
PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said the date was “hallowed” as it was Malaysia Day, adding that it was aimed to celebrate the people’s diversity regardless of race, religion, culture, political belief or locality.
“Therefore, PAS sees the choice of the hallowed date of September 16 to hold a rally that appears to be exclusive for just one group as very inappropriate and in fact, it goes against the spirit of Malaysia that is synonymous with that date,” Takiyuddin said in a statement.
Posters of the September 16 rally, which goes by “Himpunan Maruah Melayu” or “Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu”, are incendiary, with one depicting a figure holding a keris, a Malay dagger, and the phrase “Tanah Tumpahnya Darahku” [I will die for this land].
Invitations and posters for the rally, with the organisers yet to be known, have been distributed on social media with messages for Malays to unite in solidarity against a varied cause, ranging from anti-DAP messages to anti-Bersih, asking participants to wear red to the rally.
Conservative Malay group Perkasa similarly distanced itself from the September 16 rally, even as a group of 16 Muslim organisations and individuals, including liberal groups like Islamic Renaissance Front and G25, has criticised the gathering as provocative.
“Perkasa is not involved with the September 16 rally that is being talked about now. Perkasa also has not been called to any meeting about this rally,” Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali said in a statement.
“Therefore, Perkasa is not involved by name, but Perkasa members are free to attend, though only in their personal capacity,” he added.
Muslim conservative group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) has also said it is not involved with the September 16 rally. The rally has received unofficial support from some Umno leaders, however, including minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
The police prohibited yesterday the rally, citing security reasons.