A lion dance troupe led some 2,000 protesters on a march along Jalan Sultan last night in a bid to preserve the historic area from the effects of the MRT project’s construction work.
The crowd had earlier gathered at Gospel Hall Church at about 8.30pm despite a drizzle to hear their leaders speak.
At the church’s gates, Himpunan Hijau activists were present to distribute flyers and to promote their upcoming Raub protest against the use of cyanide by a gold mine in Bukit Koman on Sunday.
Some protesters even wore a mask depicting Raub member of parliament Ng Yen Yen, and greeted visitors with, “Ng Yen Yen welcomes you to Raub!”
Meanwhile at a basketball court above the former missionary girl’s school, Preserving Jalan Sultan and Jalan Bukit Bintang Committee (PJSBBC) co-chairperson Tan Yew Sing and several other speakers advocated the preservation of Jalan Sultan.
“The preservation of this heritage area is important. We do not want Kuala Lumpur to be remembered just for KL Tower and Petronas Twin Towers.
“We want it to be remembered for the common memory of many Malaysians and Kuala Lumpur’s people, especially Jalan Sultan and the area around it,” Tan (left) said, while stressing that he is not against development.
He also remarked that the rain made for a sentimental mood, and said, “it is true that we are full of sentiment, and that is why we are here.”
Other speakers include local MP Fong Kui Lun, Gospel Hall elder Jimmy Chok, Himpunan Hijau chairperson Wong Tack and NGO Pertahankan Warisan Kita chairperson Ishak Surin.
1. To demand that that the prime minister fulfils his promises, withdraw the gazette and stop land acquisition by the MRT Corporation.
2. To reiterate the importance of public consultation and to call for another rally to defend Jalan Sultan if necessary.
3. To urge Malaysians to take their vote seriously and to make a wise decision in the upcoming general election.
The group also chanted their slogan, “Janji belum ditepati, ambil tanah harus dihenti,” (Promises yet to be met; land acquisition must be stopped.)
By the time the organisers had finished drumming up the protester’s spirits at about 9.15pm, the rain had stopped and the crowd headed towards the now-demolished Klang Bus Station.
Spearheading the protesters were a lion dance troupe including two lions, accompanied by the heavy beat of drums, cymbals and gongs.
Meanwhile, a team of tens of police and People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) personnel helped to direct traffic for the protesters.
Making several stops along the way, it took about 15 minutes for the protestors to reach their destination, some 500 metres away.
The crowd could be heard chanting “Save Jalan Sultan” or “Merdeka” as they marched.
Upon reaching their destination, Yong led the protesters to read the group’s declaration one more time.
The protesters then held hands, forming a 250-metre human chain from the station, which is adjacent to the Pasar Seni Station, to Lok Ann Hotel just opposite Petaling Street’s iconic gates.
After singing Negaraku, organisers announced that the protest was over and told everyone to disperse at 9.40pm.
However, the dispersal went slowly and many lingered on. Even 20 minutes later, many are still seen on the streets with crowds spontaneously breaking into songs such as ‘Rasa Sayang’, or shouting for others to go to Dataran Merdeka, where the ‘Janji Demokrasi’ protest was about to take place.
Asked about plans for future protests, he said that it would unlikely be similar to the protest that had just taken place, but would instead target relevant agencies such as the National Heritage Department, Tourism Ministry and even parliament.
He was also asked to comment on the fact that there had been little improvement on Jalan Sultan’s situation despite several protests in the area, to which he said the committee would not give up.
“By garnering the support of the people and bringing up the awareness of the people, we know that people would do what they would wish to do during the general election.
“I think only though general election, the power and wishes of the people could be realised,” he said.