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PETALING JAYA, Dec 8 — Some 30,000 people are expected to join the anti-International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) thanksgiving rally at Jalan Raja in Kuala Lumpur today, according to Malay daily, Berita Harian.
Citing sources, it said in a report carried on its website that there was no spike in bookings for hotels along Jalan Masjid India, Jalan Silang, Pasar Seni, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Pudu.
The daily said most of the participants were expected to arrive this morning on buses or convoys from areas in the vicinity of the Klang Valley.
The rally was originally planned to demand that the government reject ICERD, but was repurposed as a “thanksgiving” event to celebrate Putrajaya’s decision not to ratify the United Nation’s convention.
Organised by Umno, PAS, a coalition of Malay-Muslim groups Ummah and the newly-formed National Sovereignty Secretariat (Daulat), the event had targeted a gathering of 500,000 people, who were asked to be dressed in white.
Rally participants are expected to gather near Sogo shopping complex, the Masjid Jamek LRT stesen, Jalan Tun Perak and Masjid Negara before converging in front of Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad at about 1pm.
Last night, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Hanifa Maidin told participants of the rally to maintain the peace and keep it ‘clean’.
He said each Malaysian has the right to peaceful assembly according to the law of the country, but participants should keep their emotions in check and not create any provocations.
“I am repeating what has been said by the prime minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad)... If they want to gather, want to carry out thanksgiving... it is their right, promise not to resort to provocative actions.
“As Malaysians, we are all responsible for looking after peace. It is true during our time, we did assemble, so we want to remind followers to keep it peaceful and clean,” he said in a Bernama report.
Separately, PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan reportedly said Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) instructions to temporarily shut its offices today at Menara DBKL1 and Menara DBKL2 would mislead the public into thinking that the rally held nearby would be chaotic, local daily Sin Chew Daily reported.
Takiyuddin said the decision for DBKL staff to not report for work at these offices today was due to safety considerations, stressing that the rally co-organised by his party would not lead to unrest.
“All staff are not allowed to stay at DBKL main towers, and have to shift to Cheras to work... I think such a directive will make everyone even more anxious,” he was quoted as saying by Sin Chew Daily.