Group that sought to block Bersih 5 claims lost RM500,000 in trade to rally

Bersih 5 demonstrators hold up balloons at Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman in Kuala Lumpur November 19, 2016. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Bersih 5 demonstrators hold up balloons at Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman in Kuala Lumpur November 19, 2016. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — The Lorong Tuanku Abdul Rahman Traders and Hawkers Association has alleged that the Bersih 5 rally cost its members a cumulative RM500,000 in business yesterday.

In a report by BH Ahad today, the group said a directive from the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) to shutter operations for the duration of the rally meant traders lost an average of RM800 each.

“The rally threatens the income of traders as it is held in an area with heavy visitor and tourist traffic. We are forced to accede to DBKL's directions as we prioritise safety,” association chairman Mahdzir Jaafar was quoted as saying in the report.

The group was one of three that had sought an injunction against the Bersih 5 rally a day before yesterday's event.

The Kuala Lumpur High Court on Friday rejected the application on the grounds of the late filing as well as failure by the three groups to demonstrate that previous rallies had caused damage to their shops and stalls.

A separate report by the Sunday Star today included remarks by traders in Petaling Street who estimated that their trade rose by as much as 50 per cent yesterday despite the rally.

Most traders in the area had closed for the day following advice from the Kuala Lumpur Hawkers and Petty Traders Association, but those that remained opened reported increased business and no trouble.

“It happens every year now, so we are not afraid of it anymore,” one trader told the newspaper.

More than 10,000 people took to the streets of the capital city yesterday at the fifth edition of polls reform group Bersih 2.0’s demonstrations to protest against corruption.

A smaller number of the “Red Shirts” also rallied without major incident aside from sporadic arrests by police.

No clashes occurred despite initial fears over both rallies happening in the same place and on the same day, as police successfully kept both groups apart.

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