PETALING JAYA: The government has been given plaudits for allowing freedom of expression to prevail in the country as witnessed by the weekend’s anti-ICERD rally that garnered some 60,000 people at Dataran Merdeka.
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak’s analyst Associate Professor Dr Jeniri Amir told theSun that this is what a progressive nation should be.
“It shows that given the right narrative from political leadership. Malaysians are finally mature enough to have a peaceful demonstration,“ he said about the rally on Saturday, which went on without any issue.
“What we worried about in the past (about the rally), it turned out to be not correct,“ he said.
He said that rally’s like this are a way forward in a democracy, where everyone can voice out their opinions without facing any backlash.
“So I think that’s the way forward for a democratic society. We should give them ample space to voice out their opinion in a peaceful manner as enshrined in the constitution,“ he said.
Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah also lauded the government and rallygoers for a peaceful rally.
“We congratulate the PH government for allowing freedom of expression and an assembly to happen. This did not happen when the previous Barisan Nasional government was in power. This shows that PH is committed and supports human rights,“ she told theSun.
The rally was held to celebrate the government’s decision not to ratify the United Nations convention.
The government had decided not to ratify ICERD amid rising protests by opponents who claimed that it would jeopardise the special rights of Malays and bumiputras in the country.
The rally, which targeted a turnout of 500,000 people, was organised by Umno, PAS, a coalition of Malay-Muslim groups Ummah and the newly-formed National Sovereignty Secretariat (Daulat).