KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — More than 700,000 participants of the anti-ICERD gathered at around Dataran Merdeka as at 3pm here today to avow their protest against the UN convention.
Although the government has announced recently that it will not ratify ICERD, the rally went on as a ‘thanksgiving’ and doubt by Umno, Pas and other Malays NGOs that Putrajaya might ‘flip-flop’ on the decision.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said at the United Nations General Assembly three months ago that Malaysia wished to join other countries in ratifying the convention.
This has raised concern to the Malays and Muslim about losing their rights in accordance with the Constitution.
In today’s event, participants started to march from their assembly points towards Dataran Merdeka. From Masjid Negara, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is leading the march towards Dataran Merdeka after performing his Zohor prayers.
Zahid was accompanied by Umno’s Pasir Salak MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Rahman and his daughter.
The PAS mentri besar for Kelantan and Terengganu began their march slightly later and were followed by student activist groups.
From Sogo, the demonstrators were led by PAS Amal security team and a pickup truck mounted with a loudspeaker on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.
Riled up by chants of “Hidup Muslim”, the crowd blew their horns and chanted all the way before converging with the rest of the crowd at the historic square.
Another large group of demonstrators has also started moving from Masjid Jamek towards the main venue along Jalan Raja.
As the rally goers converged, announcements were made by the organisers to remind them not to make any provocative remarks or speeches.
The approximately 10,000 volunteer security personnel were also told to be on the alert for such remarks.
Altogether, Malaysia’s most historical square saw a tide of white flooding it and the surrounding areas as tens of thousands of Malay-Muslims got together in support of the government’s decision not to ratify the United Nations’ International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
The rally, which targeted a turnout of 1 million people, is organised by Umno, PAS, a coalition of Malay-Muslim groups Ummah and the newly-formed National Sovereignty Secretariat (Daulat).
More rally-goers are still on their way to converge at the gathering, and it is expected to swell to 1 million by 6pm.