Red shirts don't represent Malay Muslims, say NGOs

KUALA LUMPUR - The "red shirts" planning a rally on Malaysia Day here do not represent the voice of Malay Muslims, said a coalition of non-governmental bodies.

It includes the Muslim Pro­fessionals Forum, G25, Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia, the Islamic Renaissance Front and the Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia.

The location of the rally in Bukit Bintang, it said, along with the picture of a keris-wielding warrior with an incendiary caption on its posters showed that the intent was "provocation and intimidation".

"We do not redeem our honour and dignity by blaming other races while helping an embattled political elite. One redeems one's honour and dignity by upholding the principles of truth and justice, and holding accountable those whom trust and responsibility have been placed on their shoulders," it said in a statement yesterday.

The coalition claimed that the Bersih 4 rally on Aug 29 and 30 was for all Malaysians, regardless of background.

"However, even before the rally, some quarters would like us to believe that Bersih 4 was an assault by the Chinese to undermine the Malay-Muslim leadership," it said.

Thanking the Inspector-General of Police for dissuading the red shirts from holding a parallel rally that weekend, it called on the police to once again act with professionalism to maintain peace and order in these uncertain times.

Umno veterans have condemned the Sept 16 rally, which they fear will fuel racial tension.

Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas questioned its motive.

"If any violence breaks out during the rally all will suffer," said the former two-term assemblyman and former Subang Umno permanent chairman.

Former supreme council member Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim said that if each group went on conducting demonstrations, racial friction would be inevitable.

"I don't think we need a counter rally. The most important thing is to ensure efforts must be taken to improve the livelihood of the people," said Dr Rais, the Government's socio-cultural adviser.

He also urged the authorities to take swift action against those who are responsible for the Bersih 4 rally.

Meanwhile, CIMB Group chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak concurred with former minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz that the Sept 16 rally served no purpose.

"Thank you ma'am! Please Malaysians, don't fall for the race card," he posted on Instagram.