Pakatan: No change in rally venue
PAS' Mohamad Sabu says the rally will take place at Stadium Merdeka as scheduled, and not at Bukit Jalil as suggested by the KL police chief.KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Rakyat was adamant about staging the Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat mega rally on Saturday in Stadium Merdeka, despite a recommendation by the KL police chief for the rally to be moved to Stadium Nasional Bukit Jalil yesterday.
“Our decision so far is to stick to Stadium Merdeka,” declared PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu at the PKR Lembah Pantai’s fundraising dinner last night.
His response came in the wake of KL police chief Mohmad Salleh’s statement yesterday evening who asked the organiser of the rally to consider shifting to Stadium Nasional Bukit Jalil in view of the large crowd expected by the organiser for the rally.
Mohmad said the Bukit Jalil stadium has got a larger capacity than Stadium Merdeka and would be able to cope with the one million crowd targeted by the organiser. Stadium Merdeka had informed the organiser that only 30,000 people would be allowed to gather in it.
“I understand that the organiser had applied last October to use the Bukit Jalil stadium for the rally. They made an application to use Stadium Merdeka in December, and both had been approved by the respective stadiums.
“The police accept the decision of both the stadiums and will take the necessary steps to ensure the rally proceeds peacefully.
“However, considering the public safety and security aspects, I would recommend that the organiser reconsider its decision to hold the rally at Stadium Merdeka… Stadium Bukit Jalil is more appropriate looking at the one million crowd expected by the organiser, and has a good public transport access, including the LRT,” Mohmad said in a statement yesterday.
The city police chief also said street processions were banned in the run-up to the rally, after the organiser announced eight meeting points for protesters to march to the stadium.
Citizens right to assemble
Hitting out at Mohmad’s announcement, Mohamad Sabu (Mat Sabu) said the police force had obviously reneged on its promise after Stadium Merdeka’s authority issued the green light to the rally on Wednesday.
He said the rally would go ahead as planned and nothing could stop it from happening.
Mat Sabu was featured as one of the speakers at the dinner organised by Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar at Thean Hou Temple yesterday.
Among the other leaders who spoke at the 500-strong event were PKR vice-presidents N Surendran and Tian Chua, PKR’s Wong Chen, DAP’s Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, and PAS’ Kuala Selangor MP Dzukefly Ahmad.
Commenting on the police “flip-flop”, Surendran said the authorities have no right to determine whether the people can assemble at certain place as this is the citizens’ basic right as enshrined in Article 10 of the Federal Constitution.
“They have to understand that the time has changed and they cannot bully the people anymore.
“Whether they give us to go or not, this Saturday, we are all going to Stadium Merdeka,” he said to a resounding “yes” from the audience.
Allah in state anthems
Meanwhile, Mat Sabu reiterated his stance that non-Muslims should be allowed to use the word “Allah” to refer to God as they have been singing state anthems which contain the word.
“If non-Muslims are forbidden to use Allah, then in Johor they can only sing ‘du du” Selamatkan Sultan,” he said, drawing laughter from the crowd.
On another issue, Surendran disputed the official statistics on population below poverty line which was 3.8%, saying that it was ridiculously lower as compared with Japan or the European Union.
Poverty rate in Japan was 15% while it was 16.4% in EU, he added.
“This is a blatant lie, the government is playing with the statistics. There are more than 40% of the population who earn less than RM1,500 a month, and what can you do with RM1,500 in Kuala Lumpur?” he asked.