Many people are worried about what’s going to happen on Wednesday, 16 September.
The Black Shirts
All attention is on Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu, reportedly organised by Persekutuan Silat Kebangsaan Malaysia (Pesaka). (Or is it now Himpunan Perpaduan Rakyat. Whatever.) It wants to use Padang Merbok as a venue. (Update: DBKL has approved the venue, and police have given the green light for the rally despite earlier declaring it illegal. Though the venue is Padang Merbok, police are not prohibiting people from marching along the streets.)
The aim of the Himpunan is reportedly to “protect the sanctity of the Rukun Negara and to express outrage over footage of apparent of a couple of Bersih 4 rally participants stomping on a picture of Najib and Hadi.
The selling of red T-shirts is reportedly not being done by Pesaka, said former Malacca chief minister Mohd Ali Mohd Rustam, who leads the group.
Incidentally, Pesaka is registered under the Sports Development Act as well as under the Societies Act. It received funds from the Youth and Sports Ministry via the National Sports Council for its sporting activities.
So where is Pesaka getting its funds for this event?
The Red Shirts will join in
There is another group called the “Coalition of Malay NGOs” led by Sungai Besar Umno division chief Jamal Md Yunos, who is “assisting” the organisers of what is dubbed the Himpunan/Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu rally, which has eight objectives. They are the ones reportedly selling the red T-shirts. But it was finally clarified on 12 September that there will only be one rally at Padang Merbok.
This Himpunan has been persuaded to join in the Black Shirts event, and so they will march from Bukit Bintang and elsewhere to Padang Merbok.
Jamal says 300,000 are confirmed to be attending the rally. (We shall see. I expect the number to be much fewer.)
“They will pass through not only Bukit Bintang or Petaling Street, but everywhere. Come September 16, people in red shirts will flood the streets of Kuala Lumpur.
“I am not concerned about the permit. The non-Malays are also welcome to join as long as they have the same mindset like us, as peace loving Malaysians.
Police chief says non-Malays shouldn’t worry about going into KL at the #redshirt rally, police will handle situation
— Sumisha Naidu (@sumishanaidu) September 14, 2015
Pro-Rakyat and Otai Reformasi
Some 2,500 members from the two groups plan to camp from dawn to midnight at Bukit Bintang and Petaling Street to protect Chinese traders in the area. Police have told these two groups to let police take care of the security.
The other gathering: Launch of Parti Amanah Negara
But there is something else happening on the same day which unfortunately has received little attention. And that is the launch of Parti Amanah Negara, which is expected to be held in the morning of 16 September. This is the new party of the ‘progressive’ and now breakaway faction of the Islamic Party, Pas.
I believe the launch of Amanah will have a longer lasting impact on Malaysian politics than the Himpunan rally. Maybe we should focus on something that is more positive that is more in line with the new politics of inclusiveness rather than dwell too much on those who are doing their best to drag us backwards to the old politics of race and communal sentiment. So why is all the attention on the Himpunan rather than the launch of Amanah? Why give so much publicity to the red shirts, who are craving such publicity?