Malaysiakini News

Racial imbalance, predominantly Chinese at rally

Published:  |  Modified:

Unlike previous rallies which witnessed a large Malay presence, the first few hours of Bersih 4, which is slated to go on until midnight tomorrow, has been dominated by Chinese participants.

The situation could be linked to PAS, which has decided not to participate in Bersih 4, which among others calls for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to step down.

In the previous Bersih rallies, PAS mobilised tens of thousands from the grassroots level nationwide.

In a Facebook posting, activists Boon Kia Meng also noted the racial trend.

He said Bersih 4 saw 10 percent of Malay participants and 90 percent of Chinese Malaysians on the city streets.

“Bersih 1 - Malay 80 percent and Chinese 20 percent, Bersih 2 - Malay 60 percent and Chinese 40 percent, Bersih 3 - Malay 50 percent and Chinese 50 percent. What happened?” he asked.

Earlier today, former Bersih chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan refused to be drawn into the racial breakdown issue, arguing that what was important is that Malaysians joined the rally.

Also dismissing this was Gerakan Harapan Baru chief Mohamad Sabu.

He asked the crowd, who are Malays, Chinese and Indians, and this is greeted with a resounding "yes".

"This means it is a Malaysian gathering today," he said.

Forecasted by survey

The lack of Malay participants this time around is also being highlighted in certain pro-Umno blogs such as MyKmu.net, which published an article titled 'Cina DAP Dominasi Himpunan Bersih 4' (DAP Chinese dominate Bersih 4).

A survey conducted by Merdeka Center found that 70 percent of about 600 Malay respondents were opposed to Bersih 4.

In contrast, about 81 percent of about 310 Chinese respondents, and 51 percent of about 90 Indian respondents supported the protest.

Overall, 43 percent of the 1,010 respondents were in favour of the rally, and 47 percent were not in favour for Bersih 4.

According to the independent pollster, among the chief concerns of those opposed to Bersih, especially the Malays, were fear of violence and chaos.

Others felt that Bersih would not achieve anything.

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