KUALA LUMPUR: Like the Bersih 4.0 illegal rally, the Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu championed for many things but the most echoed call voiced by Malays participating in the assembly is that they have had enough of DAP.
Clad in red shirts, they choked Padang Merbok and insisted DAP leaders, especially its supremo Lim Kit Siang to “stop testing the patience of the Malays.”
“I don’t hate the Chinese. It’s just that I have had it with DAP’s hate mongering politics,” says a rubber tapper Abdul Seman Kadir, 57, who came all the way from Parit, Perak to rally for Malay unity.
He was not the only Malay in Himpunan who felt that way.
Judging from the roaring cheer when the calls to reject DAP’s chauvinistic politics was announced during the rally, it can be assumed that such was the grass-roots’ sentiment of the Malays.
Even Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali, known for his ultra-Malay stands, had insisted that he bore no ill-will towards members of the Chinese community in during his speech at the rally.
Though it appeared as if Himpunan was dominated by Umno supporters, there were also their counterparts from Pas.
At face value they don’t appear to be wrathful but those present could feel a quiet anger brewing among them.
“We came because we want to show DAP leaders that we will never condone the disrespectful act that their supporters have done to ‘Tok Guru Hadi’ (Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang),” said Ishak Yunus, 50, a shop owner from Pasir Mas, Kelantan.
“True, we kampung folks might be simple minded. But don’t take us for fools.
“Stop jabbing the Malays and feign innocence when some of us retaliate. They (DAP leaders and supporters) too are partly responsible for all these (Malays’ anger).”
When asked, many Pas supporters who attended the rally shared similar sentiment.
They were angry with, according to them, the “disrespectful conduct” of DAP supporters who stomped Hadi’s picture during the Bersih 4.0 illegal rally.
It was also announced, twice, that Pas youth chief Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz attended the rally.
His presence however, became a topic of contention when Nik Abduh denied his attendance.
Nik Abduh, who is the son of the late Pas spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat had clarified that he was on a flight from Penang to Kelantan when Himpunan was taking place.
Regardless of his attendance, the fact that Pas and Umno supporters were willing to set aside their political differences and unite under a common ground proved that DAP had indeed hit the wrong nerve by being the main driving force of Bersih 4.0.
Having attended both Bersih 4.0 and the Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu rallies, it dawned on me that peaceful though they may seemed to be, such gathering of ten of thousands of people to air grievances begets nothing but resentment.
The common argument often floated by supporters from both sides in order to justify their actions was that the other group had started it first.
But an eye for an eye will blind everyone. Can two wrongs rectify anything?
The fact is that, in the heat of the moment, crowd participating in rallies tend to easily get out of control.
For instance, during Bersih 4.0, its participants took things too far when they raised brooms while parading to the designated assembly point and stomped pictures of Hadi and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
As for Himpunan, the police had to deployed water canons when some protesters insisted to stay and create trouble in Petaling Street when the rest of them rallied at the designated Padang Merbok.