Opposition parties invited to attend rally


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 18 Feb 2003

PUTRAJAYA: Invitations have been sent out to members of the opposition parties to join the Peace Malaysia anti-war rally at Bukit Jalil on Sunday, said its co-ordinator Dr Shamsul Anwar Sulaiman. 

He said they were sent out on Dec 28, and Jan 3 and 9. 

“The invitations were sent out to the secretaries-general of the various opposition parties. 

“In fact, DAP and PAS MPs have turned out for our Women’s Forum on World Peace,” he said after accepting a memorandum and compilation of signatures supporting Peace Malaysia’s campaign from Backbenchers Club exco members at the Shangri-La Hotel yesterday. 

Dr Shamsul was commenting on a statement by PAS Youth chief Mahfuz Omar that his party had yet to receive an official invitation for its members to attend the rally. 

Dr Shamsul said calls to attend the rally, which is expected to be the biggest demonstration against possible US-led attack on Iraq, had been publicised many times through the media. 

“As the co-ordinator for Peace Malaysia, I will ensure that all political parties are invited to the rally.  

“I hope the opposition will attend and not merely demonstrate outside the US Embassy which I felt was not a nice thing to do,” he added. 

Attendance at the rally is expected to be some 150,000 people and will see the handing over of some 1.5 million signatures collected from the Peace Malaysia campaign to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad. 

On why the rally will only be held this Sunday when protests all over the world were taking place last weekend, he said it was timed to coincide with the opening of the 13th Non-Aligned Movement Summit. 

Earlier, BBC chairman Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed said its members would be attending the peace rally in Bukit Jalil. 

“We will also call on our peers in the opposition to come along. For the sake of world peace, we should set aside political beliefs to come together and help prevent war,” he said. 

In Kuala Lumpur, campaign patron Datuk Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the campaign was a resounding success with over one million signatures collected during its run. 

“We owe the success to strong support from Malaysians from all walks of life, especially the youth groups and also the participation of the national-level Chinese associations,” he said. 

Hishammuddin, who is also Umno Youth chief, said although Muslims were facing conflicts in the Middle East, Malaysians from all races and religious backgrounds came forward to support the peace campaign. 

MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said the signature drive over the Chinese New Year holidays saw about 250,000 signatures being collected from patrons of open houses held during the two-week period. 

He said about 100,000 signatures from that collection was submitted to the campaign's secretariat, while the remaining figures would be put forward soon, adding that 568 national-level Chinese associations took part in the drive. 

“The support gathered from the campaign demonstrated that Malaysians strongly protested the United State’s actions against Iraq and any occurrence of war,” he said. 

Ong added that Hong Kong artiste Hacken Lee would be joining local artistes for several performances for the rally. 

In Klang, 1,000 people, including Selangor executive councillor Datuk Ch’ng Toh Eng and other local MCA leaders took part in an evening of prayers for peace led by six Taoist priests in Jalan Meru. 

“We join the millions of people across the world to call for peace and express our protest against any action that will cause hardship and pain,” said Ch'ng. 

In Pekan, the Regent of Pahang Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said the Pahang Youth Council should consider using short messaging services to garner support for the campaign. 

“The council can also embark on a road show beyond Pahang to get as much support as possible,” he said after inking his signature at the peace campaign at his office in Istana Pekan. 

State Youth Council president Datuk Faisal Abdullah said the council had collected 60,000 signatures. 

In Malacca, a total of 2,255 residents in Ujong Pasir and Bukit Cina submitted their signatures on Sunday to protest against possible war in Iraq. 

Led by Chock Choon Sing, a Malacca municipal councillor, who is also the chairman for development and security in Ujong Pasir, the signatures were handed to Datuk Wira Gan Boon Leong, who represented Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam.  

Related story:Indian groups back peace drive

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