Organiser: No racialism, it is a rally for the environment

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 08 Sep 2019

GEORGE TOWN: The state government need not worry that the rally against reclamation planned for today will turn into a communal issue, says Penang Gerakan Pembela Ummah.

Its secretary-general Mokhtar Ramly said the objective was solely against the implementation of the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) and Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) projects.

“The rally will be joined by many concerned citizens and fishermen with different political views, races and religious backgrounds. There are no racial issues,” he said.

He said Ummah was clear on the objective and would not be cowed by anyone who wants to play up racial sentiments.

“We have standard operating procedure in handling rallies. It will be conducted peacefully”, he said.

Ummah’s rally is planned for today at Permatang Damar Laut, south of Penang International Airport by the sea where the reclamation is to take place.

Ummah consists of about 40 NGOs in Penang, and Mokhtar expects many protesters to join in.

Bagan Dalam assemblyman Satees Muniandy said it was the fundamental right to assemble peacefully as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

But he urged participants not to slander or provoke confusion and anger.

“I hope Umno and PAS will not use the PSR issue to play up racial sentiments,” he said.

On Friday, Penang executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin urged Ummah not to allow racial sentiments to be stirred up at the rally.

He said the rights of protesters would be respected as long as they did not cross the line.

Penang Forum steering committee member Khoo Salma Nasution said the rally was not about race but the issue of pollution and reclamation, which harm the environment and affect the livelihood of fishermen.

“Dr Afif should not try to divert the issue by talking about race. I have taken part in two previous demonstrations and saw fishermen of every ethnic background coming together to stage a protest.

“We also have conducted fishermen’s complaints sessions in Tanjung Tokong and Bagan Ajam. It is clear that pollution and reclamation do not discriminate but affect all fishermen,” she said.

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