KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — Lim Kit Siang has reminded Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein that his grandfather, Datuk Onn Jaafar, pioneered peaceful protests in Malaysia, and called on the home minister to ensure the smooth running of Bersih 2.0.
The DAP parliamentary leader pointed out that Umno was born in 1946 out of non-violent anti-Malayan Union protests helmed by Onn, and asked if Hishammuddin thought his grandfather’s actions constituted illegal assembly.
“Would Hishammuddin have arrested his grandfather Datuk Onn Jaafar for organising peaceful mass rallies and meetings resulting in formation of Umno if the latter had been alive today?” he asked in a statement today.
Lim also slammed Hishammuddin for putting electoral watchdog Bersih on the same footing as Malay rights group Perkasa by announcing yesterday that the police would summon Bersih, Perkasa and Umno Youth for planning separate rallies on July 9.
He said while Bersih has declared its commitment to peace, the Perkasa counter-protest was “a different kettle of fish” that was “born to create strife and unrest”.
He urged the police to arrest and charge Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali for “invoking provocative and inflammatory images of chaos and bloodshed” by referencing the May 13, 1969 race riots during the counter-protest launch on Sunday.
“I call on the home minister to facilitate the successful holding of the peaceful Bersih 2.0 rally instead of enjoining and compelling the police to suppress the democratic rights of Malaysians,” he said.
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 saw up to 50,000 people take to the capital’s street, before they were dispersed by police armed with tear gas and water cannon.
The rally was credited for the PR’s record gains in Election 2008, which saw the opposition pact sweep to power in five states and win 82 parliamentary seats.
PAS has called on all its one million members to attend the rally while Perkasa and Umno Youth have said they will march separately on July 9 to counter the Bersih rally.
Perkasa kicked off its Gerak Aman counter-protest on Sunday by burning images of Bersih chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and warning the Chinese to stay indoors as “anything could happen”.