Malaysia

Perkasa vows counter-protest against Bersih rally

KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 — Perkasa will mobilise its members along with other non-governmental organisations to protest against the planned Bersih rally on July 9 because national security is at stake, its president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said today.

The Pasir Mas MP predicted chaos if the rally organised by elections watchdog Bersih 2.0 were to continue, and recommended that the rally should be held in a stadium instead of “the streets.”

“Perkasa will stop this from happening... I will be there myself on that day.

“Perkasa will launch a counter-demonstration, to show that there are people who do not agree with this rally, I am stopping this on the principle of democracy,” Ibrahim (picture) told reporters today.

He said Perkasa will be organising a roundtable discussion tomorrow night with 70 NGOs, where they will deliberate on all aspects concerning the Bersih rally — safety concerns, and how the rally could affect the country’s tourism sector.

“I cannot imagine if there is a rally that day and there is a big crowd, anything can happen,” he added.

Ibrahim, together with members of the Independent Caucus (Konsensus Bebas) — Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim (Bayan Baru MP), Zulkifli Noordin (Kulim-Bandar Baharu MP) and Mohsin Samsuri (Bagan Serai MP) — submitted an emergency motion on the matter to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.

“We submitted it at 10am today... why must you go on the streets? We don’t want any chaos, democracy to be hijacked by the opposition.

“This is a pre-emptive decision to make sure there is no chaos,” said Zahrain, who left PKR last year to be an independent lawmaker although his statements have been supportive of Umno.

Zulkifli claimed that there was no reason or justification for the rally, and stressed that democracy was still “alive” since Pakatan Rakyat (PR) was able to govern five states as a result of the last general election.

Bersih’s first rally in 2007, where up to 50,000 were reported to have gathered in the city, was said to have played a major role in bringing record gains for the opposition electoral pact in Election 2008, where it swept five state governments and won 82 parliamentary seats.

Umno daily Utusan Malaysia has urged Malaysians to boycott the protest and quoted Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s warning that “it will be chaotic when those for and against the street demonstration clash”.

Protesters during the first Bersih rally in 2007 were dispersed by water cannons and tear gas launched by the police.

PAS has promised to bring hundreds of thousands of supporters to the rally in the city, ahead of speculation that a general election will be called within a year.

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