KUALA LUMPUR – Sept 16, 2015: The Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu (HRB) rally today attracted a huge crowd at Padang Merbok here.
Police estimated the crowd at almost 30,000 but the organisers claimed that there were more than 250,000 participants.
Those who attended the rally, which was previously dubbed “Maruah Melayu Rally” (Malay dignity rally) were mostly donned in red.
They started to swarm the venue as early as 12pm despite the event being planned to commence at 2pm.
Some of the rally-goers had earlier met at chosen meeting points such as Putra World Trade Centre, Jalan Petaling and Jalan Conlay.
National Silat Association (Pesaka) president Tan Sri Ali Rustam, who represented the main organiser of the rally addresed the crowd at 2.30pm to expressed disappointment over the Bersih 4.0 rally held end of last month.
He said Bersih 4.0 should be deemed as the “straw that broke the camel’s back” as the illegal rally had ‘gone against the Rukun Negara and the country’s constitution.
“Bersih has taken the Rukun Negara for granted each time it takes its dissatisfaction to the streets.
“They insulted our constitution, Rukun Negara and our prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak,” he said.
Ali was referring to an incident during Bersih 4.0 where a number of protesters had stomped on a picture of Najib and Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.
Bersih had demanded for Najib to step down from his prime minister post due to several controversies such as the issue of RM2.6 billion political donation in his personal account.
“Najib and his government were elected by the people through the country’s democratic system and Bersih wants to change that. How can we let it happen?,” asked Ali.
“Therefore, we condemn Bersih for what they have been doing to the country and we urge the organisation that is supported by DAP to stop their malicious agenda,” he added.
Ali then suggested for the government to reenact the Internal Security Act 1960 which was repealed in 2012 and replaced with the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act.
He said ISA would assure that the constitution and Rukun Negara be respected and adhered to by all Malaysians.
Despite initial concerns about the rally, there was no racial provocation coming from the participants nor the non-governmental organisation (NGO) leaders who had taken turns to speak on the stage.
The chants of ‘Hidup Melayu’ and ‘Hidup Malaysia’ echoed across the field interspersing with the recital of religious verses.
The gathering at Padang Merbok ended peacefully.
However, the same cannot be said about the rally participants who had defied the order to keep the rally confined at the agreed venue and started marching down the Petaling Street.
It was reported that bottles were thrown at policemen who were assigned to stop them from going to the area which is known as a centre of businesses own by Chinese traders.
Members of the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) had to deploy their water cannons to disperse the protesters.
While no civilian has been reported to be injured, three policemen suffered minor injury during the fracas and were treated at the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital.
Earlier on before the rally had even started, protesters who gathered at Petaling Street and in the vicinity of the Pavilion mall had tried to break through barricades set up by the police.
Policemen constantly told them to calm down, but some among the protesters were heard to be shouting “masuk masuk“(enter, enter) and “Hidup Melayu” (Long live Malays).
Police has yet to make any arrest at the end of the rally.
The rally was organised by Pesaka and over 200 non-governmental organisations including the Organisation of Islamic Welfare and Dakwah of Malaysia (Pekida), Persatuan Pribumi Perkasa (Perkasa) and the Federation of Malaysian National Writers Associations (Gapena).
Among prominent politicians who attended the rally which ended at 6pm were Umno information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan, Umno supreme council member Tan Sri Annuar Musa, and Selangor Umno chief Datuk Seri Noh Omar.