Strong support for peace procession

KUALA LUMPUR: Political parties, non-governmental organisations, journalists and artistes have pledged their support to Peace Malaysia’s procession against the war in Iraq today.  

Umno Youth chief Datuk Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the march would start from Padang Merbuk to Dataran Merdeka at 2pm. 

“We urge Malaysians from all walks of life and political persuasions to come and join us in voicing our concerns about the war in Iraq,” he said after chairing the movement’s exco meeting on Thursday. 

He said there would be speeches for peace and fund collection for the war victims of Iraq. 

Press associations, namely the Malaysian Press Institute (MPI), National Press Club (NPC), National Union of Journalists (NUJ), National Union of Newspaper Workers (NUNW), Persatuan Wartawan dan Penulis Hiburan Malaysia (WHAM) and Malaysian Young Journalists Association (MYJA), as well as the Malaysian Artistes Association (Karyawan) said their members would be out in force. 

MPI chairman Datuk Ahmad A. Talib said they were in full support of the statement of peace by Malaysians. 

“Journalists do not want war. That is why we have joined forces with other peace-loving Malaysians to rally for peace,” he said. 

NUJ general secretary Hong Boon How offered the union’s condolences to the families of war casualties, saying that violence only provokes more violence. 

“War is not the solution. As journalists, we need to show the nation and international community that war cannot settle anything,” he said. 

NPC president Ahiruddin Atan said that in times of war, it is the civilians who suffer. 

“During war, people are dying needlessly, including journalists as well,” he said. 

WHAM Communication and Information Bureau chief Zainal Alam Kadir said that even those in the entertainment industry have been very supportive of peace rallies. 

“Although WHAM consists of entertainment journalists, we are also concerned about the war. In fact, from the very beginning, the artistes and celebrities have been rallying against the war as well,” he explained. 

MYJA president Dzulkarnain Taib expressed abhorrence of war and the invasion of Iraq, and fully supports the initiative of all the journalistic bodies to rally for peace. 

NUNW general secretary R. Chandrasekaran said the union would also be joining the other media associations in the peace rally to protest against the war in Iraq. 

Meanwhile, Karyawan acting president Freddie Fernandez said that an estimated 500 musicians, singers, composers, actors, actresses, film directors and other people from the entertainment industry would march with other Malaysians to show their disdain for war.  

“This is the time for us to show that we care about what goes on in the world. Let us show that artistes are no longer people who only know how to sing or entertain, but are actually concerned citizens who take an active interest in what’s happening around them” he said. 

Peace Malaysia co-ordinator Zulkifli Alwi said that at least 50,000 people were expected to participate in the march, which would culminate with the launch of the Malaysian International Fund for Peace.  

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