KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 ― Lim Kit Siang told Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today to cancel the signing of a commemorative document on Malaysia Day in Sabah to avoid the significant event being overshadowed by a controversial rally planned for September 16 here.
The DAP parliamentary leader also said it was meaningless of the prime minister to say that the September 16 rally, dubbed “Himpunan Maruah Melayu” or “Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu”, should not incite racial tensions, pointing out that previous posters, which were distributed before the Bersih 4 rally, had threatened a bloodbath against the Chinese.
“This Malaysia Day programme at Padang Merdeka in Kota Kinabalu, which would be a ‘re-enactment’ of Malaysia’s formation, should be held either one day earlier or later so as not to be overshadowed by the Red Shirts ‘Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu’ rally in Kuala Lumpur,” Lim said in a statement.
“Instead of serving as a reminder of the bond of Sabah and Sarawak with Peninsular Malaya to form Malaysia, and to resolidify the relations between the partners in the formation of Malaysia, the effect of the overshadowing of Najib’s Malaysia Day programme in Kota Kinabalu by the Red Shirts Sept 16 rally would be the sad reminder of the supremacy of Umno politics over everything else, including the 52nd Malaysia Day celebrations,” the Gelang Patah MP added.
Najib, who is also Umno president, said yesterday that the Malay ruling party was not involved in backing the September 16 rally, but said Umno members were free to join the demonstration as long as they obeyed the law.
The rally has received unofficial support from some Umno ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Datuk Jamal Md Yunos, who heads a self-styled coalition of Malay groups, said yesterday that non-Muslims should avoid the city on Malaysia Day to prevent provoking the red-shirted participants of the September 16 rally.
The rally is ostensibly to counter the apparent Chinese domination of last month’s Bersih 4 rally for institutional reforms.
Posters of the September 16 rally that have emerged on social media imply violence, with one featuring a figure brandishing a keris, a Malay dagger, and the caption: “Tanah tumpahnya darahku” (I will die for this land).
The police have prohibited the rally, planned at Bukit Bintang, on security grounds. A race riot previously occurred at Low Yat Plaza in that area that had left several people injured.