What started off as a rally that chanted the Ketuanan Melayu and initially named as Himpunan Maruah Melayu (Gathering to Preserve Dignity of Malays), is now to be “multiracial” and “for democracy”.
The main man of the Red Shirt Rally Datuk Jamal Mohd Yunus has promised that some 40% Chinese and Indian citizens will be participating in the upcoming Red Shirt or Himpunan Merah rally.
Jamal is also the Umno Sungai Besar division leader.
The rally first started off as a reaction to the Bersih 4 rally. It was was participated by supporters of the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and held last year on September 16.
However, Jamal is saying that he is now aiming it to make it multiracial and clarifies that it has nothing to do with racism.
He says that the rally has been misunderstood and painted int he wrong light by the Opposition.
“We were wrongly portrayed by the Opposition. They were spreading misleading information about us on how we are a bunch of racists.
“I am confident that this year’s Red Shirt Rally will see the support of the non-Malay non-government organisation (NGO) to prove to the Opposition that we are not racist,” says Jamal.
Jamal adds that the difference with the rally this time around is that they have an understanding among Malays, Chinese, and Indians, and this time they will come together – unlike before.
“I have discussed this with the NGOs about their participation if Bersih 5 does take place, and they have stated their support,” he says.
Jamal also claims that some 58,000 people have pledged support to the Himpunan Merah movement, along with nearly 600 NGOs nationwide.
“The Himpunan Merah is not about racism – we are standing up for democracy.
“Why I say we will have support from the non-Malay NGOs and public is because they are tired of the lies the Opposition is spreading and promising.
“Each time a Bersih rally happens, the businessmen suffer in the areas where the rally passes. We are standing up for these people,” he adds.
Jamal also says his aim of drawing in 300,000 participants to his ‘Red Shirt’ rally stays, and will be a counter-demonstration to the Bersih 5 rally.
A 40% percent non-Malay participation would mean that 120,000 of targeted 300,000 Red Shirts would be ethnic Indians and Chinese, he promises.
The Bersih 5 rally is being planned by the civil rights movement and the opposition to pressure the government to act on the 1MDB scandal, in light of the allegations made in the US Department of Justice’s court filings last month.
Soo Wern Jun