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The 'Red Shirt' Rally in Kuala Lumpur

The Red Shirt Rally in Malaysia
The 'Red Shirt' street rally was a controversial rally taken place at the city of Kuala Lumpur on 16 September 2015, which is also the Malaysia Day. It was organized by the Malay extremist groups and participated by thousands of Malay citizens in Malaysia  to counter the previous successful yellow shirt 'Bersih 4.0' rally also held in the capital city. The rally went without major incidents, and was declared peaceful by the Government. The event marks the beginning of the country's democracy evolution because street rallies were heavily opposed by the Government in the past history and the participants will be dealt with forces to disperse during the event.



Unlike the Bersih 4.0, the red shirt rally does not show a very clear goal of what they expect to achieve in the rally and that created believes that it was a political-motivated event. It was promoted to counter the Bersih 4.0 rally at first, and then it changes to fight for the Malay's rights in the country. The subject has been changed again and again and it also include the support of the Prime Minister, Dato' Sri Najib Razak's over his corruption scandals exposed by the International media recently. However, during the rally, the most chanted slogans were "Hidup Melayu" and "Hidup Najib", which mean long life the Malays and the Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Street interviews shows that the participants find it hard to explain the goal of their presence and questions such as how do they think that other races, especially the Chinese, has threaten their rights in the country. As quoted by an ex-Senior Minister, Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah as saying, "We have a government headed by a Malay, we have state governments that are headed by Malays with the exception of one in Penang, the civil service are all Malays, the police, army, and rulers are all Malays, so I don't know where the threats are coming from". "It's perceived threats, what threats (they are referring to) I do not know," he continues after delivering his keynote address at a conference on national unity in Kuala Lumpur today.

It looks more likely that the threats was not on the Malays, but it was on United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) instead. The party and its coaliation has lost its supports from majority of Chinese community over the last elections. Most of the votes from Chinese community went to the opposition's Democratic Action Party (DAP) instead.

After losing the support from the Chinese citizens, UMNO has since playing the race card hoping to gather more supports from its fellow Malay community and create hatred towards the Chinese. It then became a political stirs to paint the DAP as a Chinese party due to the fact that most of the committee members and leaders in the party was indeed Chinese. However, few people understand that DAP was actually the largest multi-racial party in the country.

The rally was also receiving critics from the former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir, who participated in the Bersih 4.0 rally instead. Asking to comment about the 'Red Shirt' rally he said “I don’t know. What’s their objective? It seems like they are only supporting the government”. In his speech at an event held in Cyberjaya, he said that his dream for Malaysia is that everyone here identified themselves as Malaysians, regardless of their race and speak one same language.

It does not really matter of what the rally is all about, leaders from all parties have agreed that the democracy of Malaysia is indeed one step forward although a lot of sacrifices involved during the process of the evolution. The police forces have displayed a more professional manner in dealing with the recent street rallies. It takes time and sacrifices to maturely develop the democracy as demonstrated by many countries in the West, but eventually, it will happen in Malaysia one day.