LIVE | Tens of thousands are expected to converge on the streets of Kuala Lumpur this afternoon to celebrate Putrajaya's decision not to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd).
Organised by Malay-Muslim NGOS, the gathering is also supported by Umno and PAS.
Those attending will gather at three different locations – Sogo shopping mall, Masjid Jamek and Masjid Negara – before marching towards Dataran Merdeka.
The gathering, which is to start at 2pm and end at 6pm, has sparked off concerns of possible racial tension but the organisers have vowed that it would be peaceful.
Malaysiakini brings you live updates of the event:
- PM thanks the 'million' who showed up
- Cops estimate 55k crowd, not 500k
- Najib: This is not about racism
- Zahid claims turnout is 500k
- PAS No 2: We're not anti-Chinese or Indians
- Sky turns grey above Dataran Merdeka
- Congestion leads to commotion
- Hadi arrives riding pillion on a motorcycle
- No provocative speeches, organiser tells crowd
- Nik Abduh leads prayer at Sogo, Najib at PWTC
- Despite police's warning, children spotted at rally
- Truck turns into a makeshift stage
- Umno Youth chief: Historical day as Umno and PAS come together
- Silat group submits memo, palace rep gives mineral water bottles
7.00pm: Thank you for following our live coverage of the rally today. Reporting by Lu Wei Hoong, Faisal Asyraf, Hariz Mohd, Yasmin Ramlan, Haspaizi Zain, and Geraldine Tong. Photos by Azneal Ishak and reporters. Social media content by Norman Goh.
If you like what we do, support independent media by joining our subscription programme for as low as RM0.41 a day. Details here.
Cops estimate 55k crowd, not 500k
6.30pm: The police's final estimate for the turnout of today's rally is 55,000, just over a tenth of the figure claimed by Umno and PAS leaders.
Kuala Lumpur police chief Mazlan Lazim says the rally went smoothly, and the only offence was that some rally participants had brought their children along, in contravention of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.
PM thanks the 'million' who showed up
6.30PM, Petaling Jaya: Speaking at the Bersatu headquarters earlier today, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad sarcastically thanked the “one million” people who attended today's rally.
“We know today there is a rally which is being attended by ‘a million people’.
“I say thank you to them for gathering out of appreciation (to the government’s decision to not ratify Icerd),” he quips after chairing the Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting.
Najib: This is not about racism
5.20PM, Jalan Raja: Dressed in a red plastic poncho, Najib tells Channel News Asia that today's rally shows that a large segment of the country is against Icerd.
He stresses that the rally is not about racism.
"Above all, this is not against other races," he says.
Gathering ends after prayer to shorten Harapan's rule
5.00pm, Jalan Raja: There was a brief pause in order for Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki to call out the azan for evening prayers.
Following this, it starts to drizzle as PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang delivers his speech.
"The social contract is better than Icerd and following western culture which respects animals more than humans," Hadi says.
After his speech, PAS syura council secretary Nik Mohamad Zawawi Salleh leads the crowd to recite a supplication, praying for Pakatan Harapan's rule to be shortened.
The rally draws to an end and the crowd begins to disperse.
Zahid claims turnout is 500k
4.45pm, Jalan Raja: Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi claims that the turnout is 500,000.
He urges Umno and PAS supporters to set aside their differences and join hands to fight for Islam and Malay rights.
"I received a report that only 50,000 people would come. But we see that 500,000 people are here.
"This is a manifestation of the fact that we would rise if Islam is touched. Do not mess with the people,” he adds.
Zahid says the ratification of Icerd will also affect the people in Sabah and Sarawak.
The crowd applauds when he announces that former premier Najib Abdul Razak is present.
Crowd size 80k at its peak, dwindles as storm clouds gather
4.30pm: Malaysiakini estimates the crowd size at its peak to be about 80,000 around 3pm.
Kuala Lumpur police chief Mazlan Lazim places the figure at 55,000 as of 4pm. In the past, the police have always been criticised for downplaying the figures at anti-government protests.
The organisers have not announced their own estimate.
However, many were seen leaving as storm clouds gather. At present, it is estimated that some 40,000 are still in the area.
PAS No 2: We're not anti-Chinese or Indians
4.25pm, Jalan Raja: PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim says the gathering is not held to condemn other races, but to defend Malay rights and Islam as the official religion.
“We are not gathered here because we are anti-Chinese or anti-Indians... We are not here to take the rights of the Chinese or Indians... We are defending the Federal Constitution.
“If the federal government continues to be inconsistent after this, the rakyat will gather in Putrajaya,” he adds.
Tuan Ibrahim also warns all quarters not to threaten the stability and harmony of the nation.
Umno MP: What does UN know about bumiputera problems?
4.15pm, Jalan Raja: Umno lawmaker Tajuddin Abdul Rahman says the United Nations has no clue about the problems of the bumiputera, those in Sabah and Muslims.
“Umno and PAS will rise again in the coming general election. Agreed?” he asks.
The Pasir Salak MP also claims the Malays have been sidelined in Budget 2019 while Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has become DAP's 'puppet'.
Sky turns grey above Dataran Merdeka
4.05pm, Jalan Raja: The sky above Dataran Merdeka turns grey, signalling an impending downpour. It is already raining in other parts of the Klang Valley.
Meanwhile, Unit Amal members with black polystyrene bags are patrolling the area, picking up rubbish.
Umno, PAS leaders at rally
3.45pm, Jalan Raja: Wanita Umno chief Noraini Ahmad is addressing the crowd from the makeshift stage.
Other leaders present are PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, former premier Najib Abdul Razak, Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan, Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa, Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki, Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri and PAS central committee leader Nik Abduh Nik Aziz.
Congestion leads to commotion
3.05pm, Jalan Raja: Thousands are still attempting to get through to Jalan Raja. This leads to a commotion as several hundred, including those with children in tow, try to leave the area due to the congestion.
Medical personnel are seen carrying several protesters who fainted.
Political leaders from Umno and PAS as wells as NGO leaders are making their way towards the makeshift stage on a truck.
Hadi arrives riding pillion on a motorcycle
2.40pm, Jalan Raja: PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang arrives riding pillion on a motorcycle. He waves to cheering protesters.
Police: Crowd at Jalan Raja about 50k
2.30pm, Jalan Raja: Police estimate that the crowd at Dataran Merdeka is about 50,000 with more filing in.
The organisers are telling the protesters to sit as there is no more room to walk around. A police helicopter is spotted flying past the area.
No provocative speeches, organiser tells crowd
2.00pm, Jalan Raja: As the crowd converge at the main gathering point, the organiser reminds them not to make provocative remarks or speeches. They are told to call the security personnel if they hear someone making such statements.
The crowd then starts reciting the selawat (poem in praise of Prophet Muhammad).
1.50pm, Sogo: Some 5,000 protesters at the Sogo shopping complex are now marching towards Jalan Raja.
Armed with banners and placards, they chant “Hidup Islam” (Long Live Islam)”, “Jahanam Pengkhianat” (Damn the traitors) and “Hancur Icerd (Crush Icerd)”.
1.45pm, Masjid Negara: The protesters march towards Jalan Raja. Some of the banners read "Kami Bantah Icerd" (We oppose Icerd) and "Pertahankan Hak Bumiputera” (Defend bumiputera rights).
1.10pm, Jalan Raja: The organisers are allowing the crowd to enter Jalan Raja, which is the main gathering point for the anti-Icerd rally.
A representative tells the crowd at the Jalan Raja-Jalan Parlimen intersection to prepare for zohor prayers.
He says the prayer will start at 1.15pm.
Nik Abduh leads prayer at Sogo, Najib at PWTC
1.10pm, PWTC: Former premier Najib Abdul Razak is at the Umno headquarters in the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC). He will perform the zohor prayers and solat hajat (prayer of needs) at the surau here.
1.00pm, Sogo: The crowd at the Sogo shopping complex perform the Zohor prayers in the sweltering heat.
PAS supreme council member Nik Abduh Nik Aziz leads the prayer. Nik Abduh is the son of the late PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.
Police estimate 4k protesters at Masjid Negara
12.50pm, Masjid Negara: Police estimate that some 4,000 protesters are at Masjid Negara. Many are clad in the white “Bantah Icerd” t-shirts.
Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri is also present and poses for photographs with the protesters.
Despite police warning, children spotted at rally
12.45pm: Sinar Harian reports that despite a police warning, some of the participants were seen with children in tow.
The Malay daily also published a photograph of a group of women, with one of them cradling a toddler. There is another child standing next to her.
Previously, the police warned those attending the gathering not to bring their children.
Truck turns into a makeshift stage
12.20pm, Intersection Jalan Raja-Jalan Parlimen: A makeshift stage on a truck is spotted in the middle of Jalan Raja, which is the main gathering point.
Some 150m away, PAS Unit Amal personnel prevent a large crowd from entering Jalan Raja. One of the personnel tells the crowd that they will not be allowed in until 2pm.
Speaking to Malaysiakini, another personnel says the FRU may swing into action if the crowd is allowed in at this point.
Umno Youth chief: Historical day as Umno and PAS come together
12.05pm, Sogo: Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki greets protesters along Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman as he makes his way towards the Sogo shopping centre. He is accompanied by some 30 men in red t-shirts.
In his speech outside the shopping complex later, Asyraf thanks those who are present.
"We want to show solidarity regardless of race and religion. Today is historical as Umno and PAS come together to send a clear message to the Pakatan Harapan government – stop lying to the people,” he says.
He stresses the nation's social contract and cautions the government against introducing western elements which can disrupt harmony.
At present, the crowd near Sogo has swelled to an estimated 5,000 people.
FRU water cannon, trucks deployed
11.55am, Jalan Parlimen: A Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) team has been stationed in front of the shophouses near the National Press Club.
There is one water cannon truck and several trucks with FRU personnel.
Some 100m away, more than 300 protesters are seen making their way towards Dataran Merdeka.
11.30am: Sin Chew Daily quotes inspector-general of police Mohamad Fuzi Harun as saying that as of 9.30am, there are some 5,000 anti-Icerd protesters in Kuala Lumpur.
Silat group submits memo, palace rep gives mineral water bottles
11.30am, Istana Negara: Members of the silat group arrive at the palace's entrance. Five of them perform silat moves prior to handing over their memorandum to a representative from the palace.
The representative also distributes mineral water bottles to the members of the silat group who had marched some 2km in the sweltering heat.
About 3k gather at Sogo, chants of 'Hidup Islam' ring out
11am, Sogo: Some 3,000 people gather in front of the Sogo shopping centre. Representatives from various NGO take turns to deliver speeches.
Many of the protesters are clad in white t-shirts with the words 'Bantah Icerd'. They chant "Hidup Islam", "Bantah Icerd", and "Bangkit Melayu."
'Praise prophet instead of provocative slogans'
10.30am, Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan: Members of the silat group commence their march to Istana Negara, which is located some 2km away.
They recite the 'selawat' (poem to praise Prophet Muhammad). The group's chief secretary Sahruddin Esa urges the members to recite the 'selawat' instead of hurling provocative slogans.
PAS Unit Amal deploys 2,000 members
10.10am: PAS Unit Amal will deploy 2,000 members for the gathering, according to Harakah Online.
The unit's director Mohd Nazree Mohd Aris says 400 of them will manage traffic in the surrounding areas, 190 will oversee medical needs while the rest will handle security and prevent threats of provocation.
10.00am: The Star reports that some 5,000 students nationwide will join the gathering. This is due to unhappiness over the monthly deduction scheme for student loans.
“We are not happy with the recent developments in PTPTN,” says Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam Se-Malaysia (Gamis) president Muhammad Faizuddin Mohd Zai.
The daily also reports that safety concerns and closure of roads in relation to the anti-Icerd gathering has led many businesses in the area to close for the day.
9.30am, Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan: More than 300 members of a silat group, clad in baju melayu with sampin, gather at the mosque. They will march to Istana Negara to submit a memorandum.
Gabungan Silat Pertahan Perlembagan (Pertahan) chief secretary Sahruddin Esa says it will be a peaceful march.
"Silat is like a public performance, not take sticks and hit people. We are not here to behave like thugs... We did not bring any weapons,” he adds.