KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 — PAS and splinter group Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) avoided each other in a show of lingering enmity at the rally against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement here today.
In the “Bantah TPPA” demonstration against the Pacific trade treaty that saw an estimated 4,000 protesters, PAS supporters began marching from Sogo Mall and settled at Padang Merbok in the city centre by 3pm, where they stayed for the next two hours listening to speeches by various political leaders.
Amanah supporters marched from Maju Junction Mall towards Dataran Merdeka, but stopped at Jalan Parlimen for an hour before backtracking back to the shopping centre.
The rally saw rancour among some PAS supporters against Amanah, with some of them shouting “Jahanam Amanah” (To hell with Amanah).
Amanah comprises progressives who left PAS after losing to the conservative faction in a bitter election in the Islamist opposition party last year.
Amanah president Mohamad Sabu was seen giving a speech to a crowd of about 500 protesters comprising students, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) members as well as notable members of civil society including Maria Chin Abdullah from polls reform group Bersih 2.0, Michelle Yesudas and Cynthia Gabriel.
PAS leaders in attendance at Padang Merbok included the Islamist opposition party’s deputy president Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man and Idris Ahmad. PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang was also present at the rally.
No DAP leaders were seen, except for Charles Santiago who has repeatedly opposed the TPP.
Parliament is set to debate the TPP next week.
Critics of the TPP contend that the US-driven Pacific treaty, which involves a dozen nations, could lead to medicine price hikes, internet censorship and put small local enterprises out of business when they compete against large American multi-nationals.
Protesters at the anti-TPP demonstration dispersed peacefully at about 5pm.