KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 — Gerakan today urged police to investigate allegedly “racist” and “seditious” banners seen during yesterday’s #Merah169 rally bearing messages calling the Chinese “pigs” and pressing for the abolition of Chinese vernacular schools.
Gerakan vice-president Datuk Dominic Lau condemned the “Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu” rally and the alleged unconstitutional call to do away with the vernacular school system.
“This is undesirable and should not be a cheap political weapon for the rally,” he told reporters after lodging a report at the Sentul police station here.
He showed reporters two photos of rally banners alleged used at the rally, which he received through the text messaging application WhatsApp, with one reading “Hapuskan SJKC” (Abolish SJKC) and another reading “Cina Babi Pendatang Elok Mati” (Chinese Pigs Better Die).
“These two messages are very dangerous, especially to our country’s peace and harmony, so we urge the police to take action towards all the people who make the environment very tense, challenge other races’ rights,” the leader from the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition component party said.
Lau said that the government already recognised the status of vernacular schools in the Education Act 1996 and the recent National Education Blueprint, insisting that Putrajaya has never endorsed the calls to remove such schools.
He said the rally banner violated Article 152 of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees the right of Malaysians to be educated in their mother tongue.
“We have to admit in our country why we can stay in harmony in the country even though we are multiracial is because we are given the right to study our own language,” he said, adding that the protection of such a right for all races ensures national unity and also gives Malaysians a competitive edge through their mastery of multiple languages.
The pro-Malay rally that was attended by 50,000 people according to police estimates has been associated with Umno, as senior party leaders played key roles and appeared in the event despite the lack of an official endorsement from the party. Umno had also chose not to bar its members from attending.
Lau said there would be no need for Gerakan to complain to Umno over the rally banners, noting that his party already made a clear stand against the gathering, which he said was organised by non-governmental organisations.
“Everybody has their own right to participate in whatever rally, just like Bersih, all the opposition have a right, it’s up to them,” he said when asked about the Umno leaders’ appearances.
“This is Malaysian perception. But it’s OK, we are against the rally, we found the rally is racist, so that’s the reason why we refuse to participate,” he added when pressed to comment on the public’s association of Umno with yesterday’s rally.
When asked how Gerakan would deal with the effects of the rally seen as Umno-linked on its Chinese supporters, Lau said the party was more concerned about fulfilling its multiracial ideology.
“So that’s why just happen that this rally is racist in terms of Malays, they are against Chinese rights, that’s why we are here,” he said, adding that Gerakan would similarly voice out if there was a rally against the rights of Malays or Indians.
Lau also said that he regretted the organising of the #Merah169 rally and the Bersih 4 rally on Malaysia Day and before Merdeka Day respectively, arguing that these two days are meant for Malaysians to celebrate together instead of staying at home in anxiety.