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MP SPEAKS The planned Sept 16 red-shirt racially-based rally is deeply troubling, fomenting concerns of racial provocation in times when unity is sorely needed in facing Malaysia’s many adversities. It is especially disheartening to see a minister openly supporting this racist ideology. The Star Online reported Umno supreme council member Ismail Sabri Yaakob will be sending party members to join the rally in his capacity as Bera Umno division chief.

Just yesterday a police report has been lodged against this racially provocative protest. The police must immediately act to ensure such acts of provocation does not proceed with any sense of impunity. Continuing silence from the authorities is even more troubling when contrasted with the home affairs minister’s incessant urgings to hunt the few outliers who desecrated images of PAS and Umno leaders in the Bersih 4 rally.

Notwithstanding general disapproval and condemnation over such crude insults against any political leaders as well as their symbols ; the social harmony of our society necessitates priority. The police must act to stem any efforts to racialise events - as this is clearly an effort to further divide Malaysia along racial lines.

What’s worse, the posters being displayed in KL associated to the Sept 16th event is akin to inviting violence on one racial group by another. This is completely flouting existing laws and reason and cannot be allowed to continue.

It bears reminding that in Islam, racial equality is crucial .

It bears reminding that in the Prophet Muhammad's last sermon, the Prophet SAW said, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.”

The prophet chose Bilal ibn Rabah, a black slave as the Muazzin, a high position in Islam.

The Prophet’s struggles helped lead Arabs out of racist darkness and into the light by guiding them onto the path of justice and equality which is part of PKR’s main thrusts.

Clearly, Islam forbids tribalism at the expense of justice. Racism is the practice of the Jahiliyyah as clearly mentioned in many Hadiths.

It was defined by the Prophet when he was asked: “Is it tribalism for a man to love his people?” and he said: “'No, tribalism is to support your people in an unjust cause.” (Ahmad)

Up till now, there is no clear cause or goals defined for this red-shirt rally, other than a counter-rally to Bersih 4.

Dangerous list of woes

The excuses from Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu gathering are so superfluous that they range from being a response to the Low Yat fracas and Bersih 4 to recovery of Umno’s pride - a dangerous list of woes that eventually linked bank to race.

As former cabinet minister Rafidah Aziz ( photo ) has said, Bersih 4 has clear demands for a clean and fair elections. One could not be faulted to assume that the planned counter rally is to protect the interests of the few with much to lose at the expense of Malaysians - especially on such an auspicious day like Sept 16. It is a day we celebrate the official birth of the Malaysian community.

Malaysia is facing a leadership crisis. Scandals are mounting. The economy has taken a turn for the worse. It is time that we Malaysians come together to fight against real concerns that are truly plaguing our future - such as failed governance, the need for transparency and integrity; certainly not politically expedient yet imaginary ones such as the need for racial supremacy.

I strongly urge the police to take stern actions against the organisers of this rally for stoking racial sentiments, even if this means going against their political masters. The police force has the people’s support - in pursuit of professionalism, maintaining social harmony and protecting Malaysians in line with rights enshrined under the federal constitution.

This rally will put Malaysia on a slippery slope to the downfall of the very fabric of our society- if allowed, devoid of any rationality and common sense - to continue. We must reject the loss of a moral compass and the eventual racial jingoism in its wake to dominate rational thinking, common decency and sense.

NURUL IZZAH ANWAR is Lembah Pantai Member of Parliament, PKR vice-president and its elections director.

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