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Bersih: Pesaka 'ready for war' cry a threat to public order

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Police must investigate National Silat Federation (Pesaka) chairperson Ali Rustam for threatening public order when he said the martial arts group is ready for "war" if ever challenged, Bersih said.

Ali, who said this in his speech at a silat even last night, also said that Pesaka organised the Sept 16 red shirt rally to show Malays will not stand idly after they are insulted.

The red shirt rally was to counter the earlier Bersih 4 rally, which among others called for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's resignation amid corruption allegations.

“We see ultra-Malay proxy groups issuing similar threats each time a peaceful assembly threatens the ruling party.

“Such approach should be condemned and halted, especially since it undermines the democratic right to dissent.

“Those issuing threats also undermine peace and inter-racial relations and yet do not face legal ramifications,” the coalition for clean and fair elections said in a statement.

Ali yesterday said Pesaka has no plans to wage war but is ready for it if ever challenged.

“It’s not as though we want to wage war, but if there are those who want to do so, we are all for it.

“In this life, we have to have dignity. Money won’t be important if we no longer have our dignity,” he said, to loud cheers of ‘Hidup Melayu’ (Long Live Malays).

'PM's endorsement'

Bersih said Ali’s statement also appeared to be endorsed by Najib, who in his own speech declared the Malay martial art as the third line of national defence , after the police and military.

The same declaration was made before the Bersih 2 rally on July 9, 2011, Bersih said.

Najib was scheduled to attend the event last night, the opening ceremony of a silat club building in Kuala Lumpur but was absent.

His speech was read out by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Shahidan Kassim.

“A clean and fair electoral system cannot be implemented as long as such groups are free to threaten violence at will […]

“Bersih and all Malaysians who love peace and democracy are steadfast to these values, while those who try to undermine democracy through threats of violence will be sent to the ash heap of history,” it said.

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