Malaysia

Perkasa claims Chinese support in anti-Bersih drive

Some of the “Chinese” supporters at the Perkasa Anti-Bersih launch at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman June 19 2011. — Picture by Jack Ooi Some of the “Chinese” supporters at the Perkasa Anti-Bersih launch at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman June 19 2011. — Picture by Jack Ooi

Irwan Fahmi Ideris told The Malaysian Insider that the Chinese community was primarily concerned with making money and did not favour anything that could disrupt the smooth running of commerce.

“The Chinese are worried that if there is chaos... business will go down,” he said when contacted yesterday.

He cited the presence of “about 300 Chinese” at Sunday’s anti-Bersih rally launch in Kampung Baru as proof that the community supported Perkasa and other non-governmental organisations who supported the cause of peace.

Irwan Fahmi also took a swipe at Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin for suggesting Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali should be investigated under the Sedition Act for comments made during the launch of the counter-protest.

Irwan Fahmi said that if Ibrahim is to be probed for sedition, Khairy should be investigated as well as for organising an illegal assembly of Umno Youth members to protest the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally.

During his speech at the event, Ibrahim had warned the Chinese to stock up on food as “anything can happen” before Perkasa supporters burned and stepped on images of Bersih chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.

“Imagine if chaos erupts. If the Bersih rally is not cancelled...I believe the Chinese community will have to stock up on food,” he had said.

 Those at the back of the crowd, looking “Chinese”, during the Perkasa Anti-Bersih at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman June 19 2011. — Picture by Jack Ooi Those at the back of the crowd, looking “Chinese”, during the Perkasa Anti-Bersih at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman June 19 2011. — Picture by Jack Ooi“Yes, anything can happen. And so I ask the police to act and use whatever powers are at their disposal.”

Lawmakers across the political divide have lambasted Ibrahim for turning the rally, which calls for free and fair elections, into a racial issue.

Ibrahim has since said his comments were sensationalised and stressed that he was only advising the Chinese to stay indoors to avoid any trouble on the day of the Bersih rally.

“I said it was better for the Chinese to stay home and if they need to, stock up on food... What does that mean? That means that usually, when there are street protests, I do not see the Chinese participating,” he told reporters in Parliament today.

“So this demonstration, I foresee that it will be the Malays from PAS participating and then Umno and us so it will be a clash among the Malays... So in order to avoid from it spreading to the other races, I said that it is better for the Chinese to stay back, that is all.”

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) component parties and activists are gearing up to march on July 9 in the second such rally by election watchdog Bersih.

The first rally in 2007, credited for the opposition’s record gains in Election 2008, saw up to 50,000 people take to the capital’s street before being dispersed by police armed with tear gas and water cannon.

 

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