Former premier Najib Abdul Razak will be attending this Saturday’s rally against the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (Icerd) in Kuala Lumpur.
Programme director for the gathering Kamaruzaman Mohamad confirmed this.
He said the organisers also welcome the attendance of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa.
“We welcome anyone who wants to attend…and listen to the views of the people,” he told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur this afternoon.
Kamaruzaman also stressed that the gathering is not about racism but safeguarding what is enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
Various quarters had urged the organisers to cancel the gathering over concerns that it could ignite racial tension.
Kelantan mufti Mohamad Shukri Mohamad and Penang mufti Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor also felt there was no need to hold the gathering since the government has decided against ratifying the convention.
Furthermore, Wan Salim was concerned that certain quarters with ill intentions might exploit the gathering to cause friction between the races.
Previously, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said the gathering would proceed because several ministers have made contradicting statements on Icerd.
Yesterday, PAS number two Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man predicted that more than half a million people would turn up for the gathering.
He said Umno is expected to mobilise some 200,000 people whereas PAS, 300,000.
Kelantan declares Dec 9 ‘cuti peristiwa’ in view of anti-Icerd rally
The PAS-controlled Kelantan government has declared Dec 9 as “cuti peristiwa” (occasional holiday) for the state in view of the gathering to be held in Kuala Lumpur the day before.
Menteri Besar Ahmad Yakob said this would allow the people of Kelantan to attend the mammoth gathering to celebrate the federal government’s decision not to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd).
Sunday is a working day in Kelantan.
Speaking after chairing the state executive council meeting this morning, Ahmad urged all Malaysians to participate in the gathering.
“This is to show our love for the nation with a clear message that harmony between the races must be preserved.
“The Kelantan state government has declared Dec 9 as a ‘cuti peristiwa’ to facilitate the travel plans with regard to those wanting to attend the gathering.
“Be careful on the road and take care of yourself and your family’s safety,” he added.
The menteri besar also expressed hope that the gathering would proceed peacefully. He also urged participants to behave themselves and adhere to the orders from the authorities.
The gathering was initially planned as a protest against the ratification of Icerd, but following Putrajaya’s decision on Nov 3 not to do so, it is now being held as a celebration.
Yesterday, PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man predicted that more than half a million people would attend the gathering.
In a Twitter posting later, Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa thanked the Kelantan state government for declaring the holiday.
The Ketereh MP also requested that the Terengganu, Kedah and Johor state governments consider doing the same.
“The move to reject Icerd is a people’s movement to defend the Federal Constitution,” he added.