Athi Veranggan | Dec 29, 08 3:23pm
Protesters in Penang today called on Malay rulers to revoke the citizenship of Malaysians who dispute Malay special rights and demanded safeguards to their special position as enshrined in the constitution.
The call by the Malaysian Coalition of Malay NGOs was made at a gathering in conjunction with Maal Hijrah celebrations in Georgetown.
Some 1,500 people – including 400 children – from a group of 20 Malay organisations joined the two-hour gathering which kicked off at 9am in Polo Ground, outside Sri Mutiara, the official residence of the Penang governor.
About 50 police personnel, both in uniform and plainclothes, kept a close watch on the gathering.
At the end of the rally, the coalition’s leaders led by its president, Md Radzi Daud, submitted a memorandum to Penang governor Abdul Rahman Abbas.
The memorandum was received by a senior official from Sri Mutiara, Sahul Hamid.
The document also called on Malaysians to defend Islam as the nation’s official religion, the granting of immunity to the Malay royalty and the upholding of the draconian Internal Security Act to protect national security.
Jail them under ISA
At the press conference later, Md Radzi – who estimated the crowd at 4,000 – said that gathering was to warn the people not to dispute the country’s constitution by raising issues that “could disrupt communal harmony”.
He said the coalition felt it was timely and imperative to hold such a gathering to remind Malaysians about their responsibility to safeguard the constitution, the royalty, social contract, and the nation’s peace and harmony.
Of late, he pointed out that many Malaysians have stirred Malay sentiments over a slew of issues.
“By disputing the aspirations of the constitution, some are inciting racial tension and communal disharmony,” said Md Radzi, who is also Yayasan Aminul Ummah Malaysia president.
He wants those who whip up racial sentiments to be detained without trial under ISA.
Md Radzi also called on Malaysians to respect the laws and to recognise the rights of various communities in the country to live in peace and harmony.
“Anyone who challenged this should be detained under ISA and the person’s citizenship should be revoked,” he said.
Although the gathering supports the continued existence of ISA, Md Radzi nonetheless cautioned the government against abusing the tough security law and called on the authorities to use their wisdom when invoking the law.
“ISA shall be applied only when there is a real threat to the country’s security,” he said.
Silence not a sign of weakness
The four-point memorandum also warned that the patience exercised by the Malays thus far shall not be construed as a sign of weakness or fear.
“Malays have kept quiet so far to maintain peace and harmony, but don’t disturb the bees hive or you can be destroyed,” stated the memorandum.
Many teenagers at the gathering carried banners with slogans written in both Malay and Jawi such as ‘Kesabaran Melayu Ada Batas’ (Malays’ Patience Has Limits), ‘Jangan Hina Nabi Muhammad SAW’ (Don’t Insult Nabi Muhammad), ‘Jangan Pertikaikan ISA’ (Don’t Dispute ISA). ‘Kekebalan Raja Raja Dipertahankan’ (Defend the Royal Immunity), and ‘Jangan Pertikaikan Hak Orang Melayu’ (Don’t Dispute Malay Rights).
Other banners included ‘Melayu dan Mamak Bersatu’ (United Malays and Indian Muslims) and ‘Jangan Ulang 13 Mei’ (Don’t Repeat May 13).
Most of the participants were wearing red-coloured head-bands depicting the ‘Allahu Akbar’ slogan and pro-ISA black T-shirts.
Among those seen at the gathering were Umno Bukit Mertajam division leader Musa Sheikh Fadzir and Tanjung Umno deputy leader Raja Munir Shah Raja Mustapha.
The organisers had originally planned to march from the state mosque to Polo Ground, but this was rejected by the police.
Although some teenagers wanted to march after the gathering, they dispersed after they were warned against it by the police.