Riot on the cards if Chinatown traders not punished, Umno man warns

Riot police protect the entrance to Chinatown from ‘Red Shirt’ demonstrators during a rally in Kuala Lumpur on September 16, 2015. ― Reuters pic
Riot police protect the entrance to Chinatown from ‘Red Shirt’ demonstrators during a rally in Kuala Lumpur on September 16, 2015. ― Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 ― Authorities’ failure to take action on Petaling Street traders allegedly selling fake goods will inevitably force “red shirt” protesters to return there this Saturday and possibly “riot”, #Merah169 leader Datuk Jamal Md Yunos said today.

Despite warnings by the authorities for the group to abandon its plan to hold a rally there,  the Umno Sungai Besar division chief said he “was told” that many as 5,000 people are ready to gather at the tourist hotspot should the government fail to move in.

“If the authorities do not take action, then 99 per cent chance that they will return there. They may even riot,” he told reporters here.

“I was told that as many as 5,000 will go there,” he added.

During the September 16 #Merah169 rally, protesters tried to breach a police barricade blocking off entry into Petaling Street, in a bid to reach the area known as “Chinatown” that Jamal later claimed was Chinese dominated and prejudicial against Malays.

The incident forced the police to use water cannons to disperse the crowd that lingered on despite the use of force.

The protesters dispersed only when Jamal came and promised them that he would press the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry to take action against Petaling Street traders for selling counterfeits and, according to him, pornographic material.

Today, the Umno leader insisted that the plan to gather outside Petaling Street this weekend was not racially motivated, but went on to accuse Chinese traders of racism by allegedly refusing to share the location with their Malay counterparts.

“They (Chinese traders) have already said that they don't want to share the space but I would like to remind them that it was the (Malay) army that helped us achieve independence and the fruit of this struggle was shared equally with all.

“They call us racists but actually they are the racists. Why can't they share the space?” Jamal said.

The Umno leader said he has already met with a top official from the Domestic Trade Ministry and voiced the grievances of Malay traders about Petaling Street.

He claimed Chinese traders there appear to enjoy “strong immunity,” likely referring to his allegation that they do not face enforcement for purportedly selling fake goods.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Noor Rashid Ibrahim today said there was no approval for the gathering this Saturday, and that police personnel will take the necessary steps ahead of the purported rally.

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