We’re ready for war if challenged, silat group leader says


(Malay Mail Online) – Tan Sri Ali Rustam said today that the National Silat Federation (Pesaka), the martial arts group behind #Merah169, will be ready to face war if necessary in order to defend Malay dignity.

Ali, who is president of the group, was quoted in Malaysiakini as explaining that the mass gathering on September 16 was held to show that there were still those who wanted the Malay race, Islam and the country’s leaders defended.

“It’s not as though we want to wage war, but if there are those who want to do so, we are all for it.

“In this life, we have to have dignity. Money won’t be important if we no longer have our dignity,” he was quoted saying when officiating the Rumah Gayung Persatuan Seni Silat Gayung Malaysia here.

Ali reportedly cited several incidences when the country’s rulers and leaders were insulted, and claimed that this occurred at least four times during the Bersih 4 rally.

“We don’t mind if people don’t like us, but don’t insult us, don’t insult our leaders.

“As Malays, we are embarrassed when they stomp the pictures of our leaders,” he was quoted in the news portal as saying, referring to the incident during Bersih 4 when pictures of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang were stepped on.

This, he added, was one of the reasons why #Merah169 was held, he said.

Thousands of people in red shirts were bussed into the federal capital on September 16 for the rally officially called “Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu” or the United People’s Assembly, but which caused concern among traders in the city centre and ethnic Chinese business leaders.

Police were forced to fire water cannons during the gathering, however, when participants refused to listen to orders to disperse.

The protest was also marred by sporadic outbreaks of racism, with one attendee recorded calling a reporter “Crazy Chinese pig”, among other insults.

The rally, said to be in support of Najib’s leadership, was to counter the mammoth two-day Bersih 4 gathering in August calling for the prime minister’s resignation.

Umno has insisted that it does not endorse the event, which was also alternately called “Himpunan Maruah Melayu”, but did not prohibit its members from participating in the demonstration organised by Pesaka.