KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today said the anti-International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) rally held in the city centre yesterday was not a setback to the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government as claimed by certain quarters, but a step forward.
Muhyiddin, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) president, said he was informed by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun that the rally went smoothly without an incident for the first time in history.
“As we are aware of yesterday’s rally, it went smoothly without any arrest.
“Compared to the rallies organised during the previous Barisan Nasional administration which I believe many of us were part of, there were obstacles preventing certain individuals from speaking.
“Yet yesterday was proof that Malaysia Baharu under Pakatan Harapan and the leadership of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad upholds the principles of democracy to allow Malaysians the right to free speech,” he said during his speech at Pakatan Harapan’s maiden charity dinner here at Putrajaya International Convention Centre here.
Muhyiddin said this was a step forward in allowing Malaysians to voice their opinions no matter their background.
“I am stating this because Pakatan Harapan’s goals are very clear and it is important to remember that the government upholds the right to free speech within the confines of the law,” he said.
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.
City 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.