Sungai Besar Umno chief Jamal Md Yunos, who leads the Himpunan Baju Merah red shirt movement, has revealed the motive behind the presence of activists from the pro-government group at the TangkapMO1 rally in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
In a press conference outside the Umno headquarters today, Jamal said the operatives, who were spotted by Malaysiakini at the rally yesterday, were there for surveillance activities on the participants.
Jamal said his men had identified 35 students at the rally, whom he said may face action for their participation.
"I believe there are 35 students whom we have identified, who will possibly face disciplinary action and maybe even legal action.
"This is such a pity for their families and parents," he said.
However, he did not specify if the red shirts will pass the surveillance material to student affairs department of their respective universities or other authorities.
Prior to the rally, it was reported that the Higher Education Ministry had issued a circular to all public and private universities, recommending action to be taken against any student found attending the rally.
Jamal's right hand man, who was spotted outside Sogo shopping complex yesterday before the students marched to Dataran Merdeka, was present at the press conference venue.
Jamal also claimed that the students were "paid" and that they had no knowledge of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) civil suit against 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
The TangkapMO1 rally yesterday urged the arrest of Malaysian Official 1, which was referred to in the DOJ filing to seize assets purportedly acquired through funds misappropriated from 1MDB.
The DOJ claimed more than US$3.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB and at least US$731 million of this money went to "Malaysian Official 1".
Some 300 people in red shirts were present at Jamal's press conference today,
Jamal claimed they represented hundreds of Malay, Chinese and Indian NGOs.
Jamal's group is one of the two red shirt movements. The other is the Gerakan Merah which is led by Mohd Ali Baharom, better known as Ali Tinju, who was previously allied to Jamal before they split after a disagreement.
Previously, Jamal vowed to take on Bersih 2 if the latter went ahead with its plan for another rally against Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak over the 1MDB scandal.
Jamal had said he will ensure a larger turnout by the red shirts which will comprise of Chinese and Indians on top of the predominantly Malay crowd.
He reiterated this at the press conference today as the crowd chanted "Hidup Merah" and "Hancur Bersih".
"We are not thinking about fighting. But if they start first, we will fight back. If they break the law, then there’s nothing wrong for us to do the same.
"It is the responsibility of the police to ensure public safety. Not ours," he said.