ISA RALLIES: Expect showdown

(The Malay Mail) – A "SHOWDOWN" is on the cards if organisers of the two ISA rallies in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday do not call off their illegal gatherings.

Police have said the gatherings are illegal and demanded that they be called off but both sides remain defiant.

Yesterday, MAGARAN or the Pembela Negara Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations Council had called on Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) not to stage the Anti-ISA rally at Istana Negara.

"Call off the rally by 5pm tomorrow (today) or we have no choice but have a ‘showdown' on Saturday," said legal adviser Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz at a Press conference at the Hotel Singgahsana in Petaling Jaya yesterday.

On Monday, representatives of Magaran, a coalition of 56 NGOs and associations nationwide, met Kuala Lumpur deputy police chief Senior Asst Comm (I) Datuk Abu Samah Mat who warned them to refrain from staging a rally.

The delegation was also advised that if they wanted to hold a gathering, they should do so in a controlled and closed environment.

Mohd Khairul said that after the meeting the delegation submitted a letter for a permit to hold the rally but this was denied approval.

"We are not trying to provoke anyone. We know that what we are doing is illegal (as we have no permit) but if GMI is still going to continue with its plans, then we have no choice but to show our stand as well," said Mohd Khairul.

"We are aware of the consequences of our actions and so, if the police are going to take action against us then we will not resist. For myself, this is something I choose to partake. If I am caught then I will not resist and I will go willingly. Some sacrifices must be made for the fight that not many will understand."

"However, if tomorrow (today) GMI agrees to call off the rally, we too, shall cancel our plans," said Mohd Khairul.

When asked about the security and safety measures the organisers had in place for its Pro-ISA rally, Mohd Khairul said: "This was one of the things that we were asked at the meeting with police. I cannot guarantee that nothing untoward will happen as it is not a matter of controlling one or two people but many people. There may also be those who will take advantage of the demonstration to cause trouble," he said.

Also present were Limousine and Hired Car Drivers and Operators Association (PETEKMA) vice-president Mohd Syahrir Abdul Aziz and KL Traders Association (acting) chairman Ahmad Zaini Ismail.

They opposed GMI's plans for the rally saying that it would disrupt the livelihood of their members.

"The weekend is when taxi drivers expect to make most of their income, especially from tourists. With so many road blocks in the city, how are taxi drivers expected to earn an income?" asked Mohd Syahrir.

"Demonstrations have never brought any positive results in the past. How much different will it be with this one?"

Magaran is expecting at least 100,000 supporters to participate at its rally.

Meanwhile, DAP Socalist Youth (DAPSY) national chairman and Rasah MP Loke Siew Fook in a statement said that DAPSY has pledged its support and participation for GMI's Anti-ISA rally.

"DAPSY leaders and members will also participate in the rally to call for the abolishment of the draconian, inhumane, and primitive ISA. We also call upon all Malaysian youths who want a more humane and democratic Malaysia to join us on that day or at least help spread the word," he said.

Yesterday, Malay Mail reported that GMI remained defiant amid stern warning by police not to continue with its campaign as it had not even applied for a permit.

However, the organiser of the Anti-ISA rally had promised to have a peacefull rally as participants are required to observe the guideliens posted on the rally's blog.