Pakatan Harapan leaders today called for the removal of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, whom they said was playing the race card to continue staying in power.
The leaders, including DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang and PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar said the recent “red shirt” rally and threats made by pro-Umno groups to protest in Petaling Street today showed that Najib had to go.
“The September 16 ‘red shirt’ Perhimpunan Maruah Melayu is one product of the political crisis and turmoil which had engulfed the country for months because of the deliberate playing of the race card to shore up support for Najib as prime minister,” Lim said at a press conference in a coffee shop in Petaling Street today.
Both he and Nurul Izzah were among several members of the opposition who visited the popular shopping street, also known as Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown, this morning as a show of support and solidarity with traders, who are predominantly Chinese, and shoppers.
Today’s planned protest was called off yesterday and as of 10.45am today, many traders started their businesses. There were also droves of shoppers, including foreigners, eating at the coffee shops.
There was more police presence than usual with about 20 officers near the arch, marking the entrance to Chinatown, on Jalan Pudu. A few more personnel were patrolling the street itself.
The opposition politicians, including Seputeh MP Teresa Kok (DAP), Wangsa Maju MP Dr Tan Kwee Kwong (PKR) and several members of Parti Amanah Negara, went on a walkabout in Petaling Street later.
“The racism we are seeing in recent weeks belongs to the Stone Age,” said Nurul Izzah.
She called on Umno lawmakers to heed the call to make changes, referring to supporting a no-confidence vote against Najib.
“Umno lawmakers have to defend the dignity of the Malays by uniting against corruption and racism and others,” Nurul Izzah said.
“We cannot afford to waste our time. We need commitment to make changes.”
Lim said that a no-confidence motion could be tabled after Parliament convened next month but said the problem would be acquiring support from Umno lawmakers.
“The Malaysian Parliament has 222 MPs and an absolute simple majority will be 112 – are there 112 MPs from both sides of the house who are prepared to vote in support of a no-confidence motion against Najib?”
The roads around Petaling Street were the scene of chaos on September 16 when police had to use water cannon to disperse a crowd of “red shirt” protesters who tried to force their way into the area.
One of the rally leaders, Datuk Jamal Md Yunos, earlier said protesters would turn up again in Chinatown today to demand the authorities raid retailers selling fake goods and allegedly running illegal businesses.
He was arrested last night over his statements.
Chinese ambassador to Malaysia Dr Huang Huikang yesterday visited Petaling Street and warned against using violence to disrupt public order in the country.
He said the Chinese government was opposed to terrorism, extremism and any forms of discrimination based on race.
“The Chinese government opposes terrorism and any form of discrimination against races and any form of extremism,” he was quoted as saying by The Star.
PKR’s Tan said he felt ashamed as a Malaysian that Huang had advised leaders how to run the country.
“This has never happened before. The Chinese ambassador came here to advise us.
“As a Malaysian, I feel ashamed. He came here to tell us how to run our country.” – Malaysian Insider