July 31, 2009
SHOWDOWN in KL streets on August 1, 2009
by Tarani Palani
PAS has made it compulsory for all of its members to participate in an anti-Internal Security Act (ISA) rally in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow, said its vice-president Salahuddin Ayub.
He added that the party’s spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and president Abdul Hadi Awang have given the nod for the rally.
He also said the duo, who are Islamic scholars, had also decreed that the rally would not be haram or forbidden by Islam.
“Whether the gathering is deemed haram (by others) is immaterial because our top leadership has already given their blessing,” Salahuddin told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.
The vice-president was responding to an article published in Berita Harian today which featured several religious authorities condemning the proposed gathering as being un-Islamic. Unfazed, Salahuddin said: “I urge PAS members not to be influenced by fatwas (edicts) issued by other parties.”
Some 50,000 PAS members are expected to take part in the gathering tomorrow.
Anwar, Hadi and Kit Siang to be there
The Abolish ISA Movement (GMI by its Malay abbreviation) and Majlis Permuafakatan Ummah (Pewaris) will stage two separate gatherings to voice their protest and support for the security law respectively.
The rallies are being called to mark the 49th anniversary of the passage of the ISA. Top opposition leaders who will be leading the anti-ISA rally include PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang.
Despite stern police warning to call off the gatherings, both groups remain adamant. Salahuddin, who also sits in the central committee of GMI, said the police were notified of the gathering although no permit was obtained.
He stressed that previous gatherings planned by groups such as Bersih and PPSMI, tomorrow’s rallies are expected to be peaceful.
With the two interlocking ideological groups protesting simultaneously, there has been some anticipated tension as the two groups are set to face-off while taking the same route to the palace where both memorandums will be presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Pro-ISA group to avoid Masjid Negara
But Pewaris this morning issued a statement saying that they have decided to avoid one of its meeting points – Masjid Negara – which would have brought it face-to-face with the rival group.
The pro-ISA group will now meet at only two points- Pasar Seni and Padang Merbok – before marching to Dataran Merdeka at 2pm.
Meanwhile, GMI plans to start its rally at 2pm from three locations – Sogo shopping complex, Masjid Jamek and Masjid Negara.
In a related development, students from a MCA-owned private university have been told not to attend the rally. The University of Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) has issued a circular today stating that “Utar wishes to advise all staff and students not to participate in any illegal gatherings”.
How P. Ramlee would have dealt with ISA agents