Umno supporters unfurl a banner supporting the Malays-only status quo of the UiTM college on Nomination Day (Photo credit: Abang Benet)
At around 9.45 last night, Anwar bravely addressed a crowd of close to a thousand people on a service road outside the UiTM Permatang Pauh campus. Nearby apartment dwellers and students from the hostel, mainly Malay, poured out to listen to him. Some of these students must have been among the reported crowd of 5,000 who had demonstrated here against Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim’s suggestion that the university open its doors to non-bumiputeras (see below).
Anwar stressed to the crowd the importance of multiracialism. He would be a prime minister that would be fair to all Malaysians and it would be his responsibility to make sure he took care of all ethnic groups.
“Orang Melayu anak saya… (pause) … orang Cina anak saya … (pause) …. orang India … anak saya,” he said in poetic and dramatic fashion.
Applause broke out from the largely Malay crowd which included the Malay UiTM students.
“All it takes is for the right leader to tell them the right thing and they will support it,” marvelled a newspaper editor who witnessed the scene.
This excerpt from a Bernama news report:
August 15, 2008 15:01 PM
UiTM Students Hand Over Memoranda
BUKIT MERTAJAM, Aug 15 (Bernama) — About 5,000 students from the Permatang Pauh campus of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) held a peaceful protest against the suggestion by Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim that the university open its doors to non-bumiputeras.
The students wore black and gathered at the campus’s field from 9am for an hour and sang the varsity’s official anthem and patriotic songs.
They dispersed after the head of the students’ representative council, Mohd Faizal Zainol, handed over a memorandum to the deputy director of the academic division, Dr Mohd Abdullah Hemdi.
Mohd Abdullah told reporters the memorandum will be handed over to the university’s vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Seri Ibrahim Abu Shah to be handed over to Abdul Khalid.
“If Abdul Khalid does not retract his statement all UiTM students will have a huge gathering in Shah Alam. We hope the issue of a non-bumiputera quota is not discussed again. We regret that Abdul Khalid has not upheld his race’s rights,” Mohd Faizol said