‘Pity the Malays’ who are always painted racist even when rallying in peace, Utusan writer says

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(Malay Mail Online) – Defending a pro-Malay gathering in the city today, a columnist with Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia asserted today the Malay community is a pitiable lot as Malaysia’s dominant race is tarred as racist even when their demands have good intentions.

Zulkiflee Bakar in his column entitled “Let the Malays rally peacefully” called the criticism against the Himpunan Maruah Melayu (Malay Dignity Rally) unfair, and gave the impression that the right to assemble is reserved only for Malaysia’s minorities.

“Pity the Malays. Even to assemble with good intentions, they are still viewed as having no right and freedom to gather. Rights and freedom are only for other races.

“If the Malays want to gather they are racists. But if others want to rally it is called democracy,” the columnist wrote.

Zulkiflee also insisted that the “red shirt” rally -which came with a “preview” that demonstrated the participants “fearlessness” through a martial arts presentation held a few days before the pro-reform protest Bersih 4 took place – would be peaceful as “the Malays are a community that respects the law”.

“Therefor do not fear when the Malays assemble. The Malays know their limits, unlike the rude acts of some Bersih participants. The Malays know how to exercise their rights in accordance with the law,” he said.

The writer also dismissed suggestions that a low turnout for the rally would deal a huge blow to the organisers’ agenda.

He argued that what mattered is that the rally sends a signal that the Malays have the right to assemble and not the numbers.

Today’s rally, organised by an unnamed group and alternatively called Himpunan Maruah Melayu or Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu, is ostensibly to counter the alleged Chinese domination of last month’s Bersih 4 rally for institutional reforms.

Despite the organisers’ insistence that the rally would be peaceful, critics say the messages coming from its spokesman Datuk Jamal Md Yunos have clear racial undertones.

Among them was a warning to non-Malays against being near the rally “to avoid provocation”.

The rally have also met opposition from leaders from the ruling Malay party Umno, including its former president and prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and current party number two Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Jamal is Umno Sungai Besar division chief.