Mega anti-ICERD rally can 'cool down' racial tensions claims PAS

KUALA LUMPUR: The Dec 8 mega rally against ICERD is hoped to be able to "cool down" racial tensions in the country and must not be linked with the recent temple riots, says the PAS deputy president.. 

Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (pic) said the planned one-million-strong mega rally on Dec 8 in Kuala Lumpur against the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (which the government had considered but decided against signing) should not be linked to the riots at the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in USJ 25, Subang Jaya.

“These are separate issues. The temple issue involves the developer and the temple owner. 

"It has nothing to do with ICERD and we shouldn’t relate it with the rally,” Tuan Ibrahim told reporters when met at the Parliament lobby on Wednesday (Nov 28) . 

“On this matter, we must respect the freedom of religion. 

"Even in warfare, Islam does not allow us to kill, to destroy places of worship, priests and even trees,” he added. 

Tuan Ibrahim hopes that the Dec 8 rally will be able to cool down racial tensions in the country. 

“A rally isn’t always negative. Most importantly, it’s about how we manage it and how we show our gratitude towards the government,” he added. 

The Kubang Kerian MP claimed that the Dec 8 rally shouldn’t involve any racial sentiments, as it is "not a racial rally".

But how could a mega rally against eliminating racial discrimination not be a "racial rally"?

Tuan Ibrahim claimed that the rally was about "national policies". 

“It does not involve Malays, Chinese or Indians. We just want to ensure that no race will be left behind," he claimed.

“We are inviting all races who appreciate the 61-year peace that we have achieved as a country. There are no disturbances so far and we must defend that.” 

At the same time, Tuan Ibrahim said that the government needs a new law to address issues on places of worship in the nation. 

“For example, we cannot simply build places of worship. At the same time, we must respect older places that have been around for more than a hundred years. 

“There must be a mechanism so that older places are maintained. If they need to be relocated, it must be handled harmoniously,” he said. 

Last Friday (Nov 23), the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement announced that the government had decided not to ratify ICERD. 

However, Ummah secretariat chief Aminuddin Yahaya responded that the rally will still go ahead to "celebrate" the rakyat’s move to pressure the government into rejecting ICERD.

The Dec 8 rally will take place in Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur. 

Organisers have said that PAS and Umno will send 350,000 members each, with the balance coming from NGOs and the public, to achieve the target of one million participants.