KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — The rally to defend the “sovereignty of Islam” organised by pro-Islam Gerakan Pembela Ummah (Ummah) today ended much earlier following a heavy downpour.
The heavy rain forced organisers to end 90 minutes ahead of schedule.
The rally initially which drew an estimated 2,000 attendees to Masjid Jamek and then Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman as early as 1pm saw placards calling for Attorney General Tommy Thomas’ dismissal, and posters in support of Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim.
Initially rally participants were not dissuaded by the sight of darkening clouds, which began to form from 2.30pm onward. When the first drizzling raindrops began to fall, many remained in place.
However, eventually dozens could be seen running away and seeking shelter, as the rain increased in intensity by 3.05pm.
By 3.30pm, most rally-goers had dispersed, leaving only Ummah volunteers maintaining their arm-linked circle around the base of the rally stage, where they had been positioned since 1.30pm.
At 3.50pm even emergency ambulance on standby and a truck carrying the stage had cleared from the premises, leaving traffic to slowly resume along the road.
The peak crowd size of the rally today was not more than 2,000.
The size was significantly smaller than the 80,000-strong Gerakan Pembela Ummah pulled during the rally against the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd) last year.
Umno Youth chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki in his speech despite the heavy downpour said the rally today will be the first of many bigger ones.
He said people cannot accept the royal institutions being belittled.
“Recently there is a claim that (a) Malay ruler is a robber at a forum which was also attended by Attorney general Tommy Thomas.
“He is unworthy to be the attorney general where he allowed the rulers to be insulted,” he was reported saying.
Participants also carried banners with slogans like “Respect the institution of the monarchy”, “Defend the sovereignty of Islam” and “TMJ continue your fight”.
As he was giving his speech, the rain became heavier forcing many rally participants to seek shelter but others stay put under their umbrellas and in their ponchos.
Former Federal Territories Umno Youth chief Mohd Razlan Rafii while addressing the crowd earlier said among the reasons they are gathering is that justice has yet to be served over the death of firefighter Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim.
“Today is the World Firefighter Day... he died in vain. If we do not defend him, who will?” he said.
Muhammad Adib was injured and subsequently passed away during the Seafield Temple riots in Subang Jaya in November last year.
Among NGOs at the scene included Benar Malaysia, Sedar Malaysia, and other Malay-Muslim groups.
The crowd appeared to comprise of mainly Umno and PAS supporters wearing their party colours. At least 10 traders were selling various designs of T-shirts and scarves.
Yesterday, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Ummah has vested political interests and is out to tarnish the image of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government by painting it as uninterested in protecting the welfare of Muslims who form the bulk of the country’s multi-religious population.
He dismissed the rally as a publicity stunt, and advised the organisers not to misuse religion to sow public discord.