MoCS to meet police over Aug 13 rally
We expect the police to be professional and not take instructions blindly from political leaders in Sarawak, says Francis Siah
“We remain hopeful for a police permit. We have listened to the police’s advice and had agreed to and fulfilled their two conditions,” MoCS leader Francis Paul Siah said in a statement.
According to Siah, the police would only allow a stationary rally with no march or procession and that the application for the permit must be made through a registered organization.
“We have agreed that we would only station ourselves at the Museum Ground near the Cenotaph where we would hold a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of the fallen heroes of Sarawak.
There will only be five speakers, including two former deputy education ministers, Salleh Jafaruddin and Bujang Ulis. Multi-religious prayer sessions will also be conducted and participants will also sing patriotic songs.
On the second condition, Siah revealed that the MoCS organisation has been registered and was now licensed to operate legally.
Siah said he would pay a courtesy call on the new Sarawak Commissioner of Police (CP), Mortadza Nazarene, on Wednesday and also to hear what he has to say.
“While we have heeded the advice from the police, I hope they would also listen to our voices. We have assured them that the event will be peaceful. We must believe and trust in the strength and discipline of Sarawakians that we are a mature and non-violent citizenry,” he said.
“We expect the police to be professional and they have to act within the law too. Hopefully, they would not take instructions blindly from political leaders in Sarawak,” Siah added.
The MoCS leader revealed that the 10-point declaration which will be unveiled on Aug 13 will be the movement’s blue-print for democratic reforms in Sarawak.
“The state must move forward. Because of bad politics and corrupt leaders, we remain stagnant. Many Sarawakians only know of poverty, a low standard of living, a sub-standard education and a poor health system. Many have lamented that their only mean to survive in Sarawak is to strike a lottery. And this is not a joke!” said Siah.
The August 13 event was originally planned as an anti-Taib Mahmud rally but the organizers have wisely decided to tone it down to a ‘Walk for Democracy and Reform’ in order to appear less confrontational and more civil during the holy month of Ramadan.
“Although the original scope of Aug 13 has somewhat changed, the objectives remain,” Siah insisted.
The MoCS leader said the number of participants at the event, dubbed the Red Rally, was not important.
“Achieving our long-term objectives for Sarawaik is paramount. We do not coerce or pay people to attend. They will have to come of their own free will,” he explained.
Saying that the theme of the event is ‘We Love Sarawak’, Siah said it would be unimaginable for anyone not to support good governance and democratic reform.
“We organise this because we love Sarawak. MoCS is bigger than bickering. We will stay focused on the big picture and the big picture is to engage our fellow citizens into building a state that has fallen behind over many years of loose and carefree management into a prosperous one for future generations.
“We also want politicians to realize that getting elected marks the beginning of their journey to serve Sarawak, not to serve themselves. Serving the people and state is their sacred duty”, he stressed.
Siah said that Sarawakians are also known to be more reserved and timid than their fellow citizens in the peninsula ‘but they must now dare to stand up for their rights and be counted”.
The Red Rally on Aug 13 will be an awakening for Sarawakians that it is actually people’s power which decides and charts the destiny of their nation and not a few powerful politicians, he said.
“The people of Sarawak must come out now and publicly declare, ‘No, we are not afraid anymore and we will no longer be cowed by the politics of fear and intimidation.’
“This is also one important objective of Aug 13,” Siah said.