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Don't raise the temperature, Anwar urges organisers to scrap rallies

23 Aug 2019, 10:37 am

Updated a year ago

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Anwar Ibrahim has urged the organisers to scrap the rallies planned in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, this evening and tomorrow afternoon.

The PKR president said there is no need for the gathering to protest against Muslim preacher Dr Zakir Naik since the situation has calmed down.

“Police have barred Zakir from delivering lectures nationwide. Continuing the protest will increase the political temperature and invite a myriad of reactions.

“I advise the public not to be influenced to join this protest,” he added in a statement this evening.

Meanwhile, the police have also warned of stern action against those who participate in the rallies, which also opposes the introduction of Jawi khat (calligraphy) in vernacular schools.

Yesterday, Brickfields acting police chief Arifai Tarawe confirmed receiving a notice from the organisers. However, he said both notices were incomplete and did not meet legal requirements.

Meanwhile, Shankar Ganesh, who is the organiser of the anti-Zakir rally, said the gathering would proceed "with or without papers (approval from the police)."

"The decision is made. If I back off now, then we will have to remain silent forever. If I back off, our rights for our kids and future will be silent forever," he added in a Facebook post today.

Earlier, police also dispelled a viral message claiming that a riot would erupt in Brickfields today and tomorrow.

Last week, Malaysiakini reported that Zakir courted flak for questioning the loyalty of Hindu Malaysians during an Aug 8 speech in Kelantan.

It was also reported that the preacher had referred to Chinese Malaysians as "old guests" at the same event.

The India-born preacher, who is being investigated by the police, claimed that his remarks were taken out of context and has since apologised.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Zakir's Malaysian permanent resident status depends on the outcome of the police investigations.

Zakir is wanted by the Indian authorities on charges of alleged money laundering, which the preacher claims are false.

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