PETALING JAYA: The G25, a group of prominent former civil servants, has lambasted the organisers of the rally to “defend the sovereignty of Islam”, as well as certain leaders from Umno and PAS, for being hypocrites.
Claiming the gathering was utterly unnecessary, G25 spokesperson Datuk Noor Farida Mohd Ariffin said she was infuriated by Gerakan Pembela Ummah (Ummah) for calling out the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government for its purported shortcomings.
She questioned why the group, as well as opposition leaders, who attended the rally at the city centre on Saturday, had chosen to turn a blind eye when Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders had committed alleged misdeeds previously.
“They were just trying to dupe poor Malays into joining the rally by using claims of racism against PH, saying the government is against Islam and the royalty. That’s nonsense.
“Why didn’t they say anything when all the corrupt Muslim leaders under BN allegedly robbed Tabung Haji (TH) and other institutions?” she said when contacted yesterday.
“Not only is Islam protected under the Federal Constitution, but PH has in fact done a lot for Islam and the Malay community. Who do you think is rescuing TH and the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda)? Stop telling lies,“ she added.
Noor Farida said the organisers were merely using Islam for their own political ends, and would not care if the country ended up in another racial war just to return the Opposition to federal power.
Ummah chief secretariat Aminuddin Yahaya had previously said the rally was meant to serve as a warning to PH for allegedly sidelining the Malays and challenging the sovereignty of Islam, as well as for the issues surrounding the Roman Statute and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
Noor Farida hoped that the authorities would clamp down hard on any form of hate speeches and defamatory statements uttered by irresponsible individuals, including during the rally, claiming “they need to be taught a lesson”.
Human rights lawyer Andrew Khoo said while the group was entitled to hold a demonstration as part of its freedom of assembly, the reasons behind it were more questionable.
“I think there was some disagreement on whether or not Islam is actually threatened. I would say its the willful disregard to the facts of the situation that made them feel Islam is being threatened.”
Former Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) commissioner Mohammed Sha’ani Abdullah agreed that individuals were allowed under the law to hold rallies, adding that the rally participants might have their own understanding as to why they felt threatened.
“I cannot deny their right to assemble, but we all know Islam is protected under the constitution. I feel there needs to be more education and awareness on this front, so that everyone understands,“ he said.