PETALING JAYA, Dec 9 — DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang today said the rally against a United Nations convention of racial equality that was held in the city centre yesterday was a setback for Pakatan Harapan (PH) but nonetheless a victory for Malaysia Baharu.
Lim said the rally clearly showed that the Pakatan Harapan government will always respect the rights of the people to speak and assemble peacefully, as long as these rights are practised according to the provisions of the law and the Federal Constitution.
However, he said the rally would not have taken place if the federal government had handled the protest against the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) issue better.
“The organisers of the of the anti-ICERD rally did not want a New Malaysia.
“The organisers of the anti-Icerd rally came to destroy and not to create a New Malaysia.
“I say this is a setback for the Pakatan Harapan to build a New Malaysia because yesterday’s rally would not have happened if the government had handled the ICERD issue better,” he said in a statement today.
Umno and PAS yesterday covered the streets of Kuala Lumpur and the historic Dataran Merdeka in a sea of white as a ‘thanksgiving’ rally on the government’s decision not to ratify the United Nations convention.
“The PH government should not have allowed the organisers of the anti-ICERD rally to hijack, twist and distort the ICERD debate with the toxic politics to incite baseless fears that ICERD is anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-Malay Rulers.
“Such efforts camouflaged an agenda to allow those responsible for sending Malaysia into the trajectory of a rogue democracy and a failed state — to make a political comeback and to destroy efforts to reset nation-building efforts,” he said.
Lim pointed out that Malaysia should not ratify ICERD until the majority of the races and religions were comfortable with it and become clear that it posed no threat to the various races, religions or the Federal Constitution.
“It is of utmost importance that the unity and harmony of our diverse races, languages, cultures and religions in Malaysia must be the paramount goal of the nation,” he said.
Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim had said that 55,000 participants were present at the rally, and the programme went on smoothly and safely without any undesirable events.
Among the Opposition leaders present at the event were former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.