PENANG: A big crowd, comprising mostly Umno members and supporters, took to the streets around Komtar after Friday prayers yesterday to protest against Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s remarks on the New Economic Policy (NEP).
Chanting slogans, the protesters marched towards Komtar in Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong at about 2.30pm.
The protest was held in response to Lim’s statement that DAP-PKR would run the government “free from the NEP that breeds cronyism, corruption and systemic inefficiency.”
Speaking to reporters, Bukit Mertajam Umno division chief Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir said the state Umno would hand over a four-point memorandum to Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas next week in protest of Guan Eng’s statement.
Tanjung Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ibnihajar denied the protest was led by the state Umno and claimed the Malays had gathered in response to Short Message Service texts which were circulated yesterday.
He said the DAP-led government had not respected the rights of the Malays and that the Penang Malays “wanted them out.”
At 3.30pm, George Town OCPD Asst Comm Azam Abd Hamid advised the protesters to disperse, using a loud hailer.
They only left when five trucks, including one equipped with water cannon from the Federal Reserve Unit arrived 30 minutes later.
Acting state police chief Senior Asst Comm (I) Datuk Salleh Mat Rasid said no untoward incidents were reported but two men were brought back for questioning.
Guan Eng said Umno leaders need not take to the streets as they can always meet him on issues affecting Penang Malays.
PKR has lodged a police report on Thursday night over an attempt to incite people to protest against the new state government.
“There were irresponsible people spreading rumours and we want to make it clear that PKR is in no way involved.
“Clearly it was meant to create racial tension among the people. As far as PKR is concerned, we accept and support the new state executive council appointments,'' PKR Bayan Baru information chief Annuar Ismail said after lodging the police report.
In SHAH ALAM, another group marched from the state mosque to the state secretariat building here to stage a similar protest.
The crowd gathered at the roundabout near the mosque just after the Friday prayers.
They stopped in front of a line formed by police Light Strike Force personnel about 150m from the main entrance to the building, continued with their protest and left peacefully about 20 minutes later.
Shah Alam Deputy OCPD Deputy Supt Mohd Shariff Abdul Wahid said police were aware of the planned gathering and confirmed that no permit had been issued for it.
Meanwhile, Kinrara assemblyman Teresa Kok, which the SMS had purportedly said to have called for the abolishment of the NEP in Selangor, denied ever saying such a thing.
“I have never asked Tan Sri Khalid to abolish the NEP in Selangor,” she said.
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