Saturday 21 May 2011

Protesters issue call: 'Defend Utusan at all costs'

Malay rights group Perkasa and Umno called on all Malays to unite and safeguard national daily Utusan Malaysia against the opposition's belligerence.

NONE"Whenever anyone insults Utusan and the Malay community, Perkasa will be there. This is a warning to all... you have to cross over our dead bodies first," shouted a demonstrator.

He and about 80 Perkasa members gathered outside Utusan's headquarters in Kuala Lumpur today in support of the Umno-owned Malay language daily, which has come under severe criticism for stoking racial tensions.

Fifteen minutes into their show of support for Utusan, a group of 70 Umno Youth members arrived to join the demonstration.
Utusan Malaysia is the official voice of the Malays; as long as Utusan lives, the Malays will prosper.
NONE“Perkasa will defend Utusan to the very end, as the newspaper has served the interests of the Malay community well,” said Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali, who led the Perkasa faction.

The protestors chanted slogans such as “Hidup Melayu, Hidup Utusan” (long live Malays, long live Utusan), and “Save Utusan, long live the Malays”.

They also repeatedly sang a patriotic song 'Perajurit Tanah Air', most commonly known as 'Inilah Barisan Kita' to motivate the entourage through the drizzle.

NONEThirty-odd police and two jeeps of Light Strike Force (LSF) unit personnel stood guard but did not intervene.

Five Perkasa representatives were allowed to enter Utusan's premises, followed by another five from Umno to hand in a memorandum vowing to uphold the “true voice” of the Malay race.

They accused the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, of criticising and portraying the daily as a “racist mouthpiece” arguing that Utusan was much more “balanced”, unlike the opposition's various party organs and other online news portals that they claimed were often “skewed in their reporting”.

Targeting Pakatan leaders, they warned of severe consequences if attacks on Utusan persisted.

PKR Youth chickened out?

Among those leading the Umno Youth group were deputy secretary Megat Firdaus Megat Junid and Perkasa's former Youth chief Arman Azha Abu Hanifa.

NONE“We will defend Utusan together... the parties who ridiculed and insulted this paper don't know its history.

"This was the newspaper that united the Malay race and the people of Malaya, from the time Umno was formed in 1946 and independence in 1957.
"It has unequivocally presented the voice of the Malays,” said Megat Firdaus (left).

“The paper has done so much for us. We will not allow its reputation to be tarnished by lies,” he said, adding that the paper had promoted the use of Bahasa Malaysia.

Megat also took a swipe at the PKR Youth who were supposed to protest against Utusan today, but had withdrawn at the last minute to avoid a clash.

“The Umno Youth will not allow them to cause a commotion here... we are not afraid,” he said.
Utusan Perkasa's 'food and clothing'

Meanwhile, Syed Hassan vowed to protect Utusan's cause to uphold the rights of the community and Islam as the religion of the federation.

NONEUtusan Malaysia is akin to food and clothing to us,” he said, adding it “will never lose its importance and need”.

“PKR better be aware of attacking it again... and so must the leaders of other communities. Look at the other newspapers and web portals before targeting Utusan,” he said.

He warned that Perkasa will not remain silent if other parties threatened the rights of the Malay community or Islam.

“This we are not playing games anymore,” said Syed Hassan (above).

NONEOn May 7 Utusan front-paged an article titled 'Kristian Agama Rasmi?' (Christianity the official religion?) that cited unsubstantiated allegations on two pro-Umno blogs that Christian leaders were supposedly hatching a conspiracy to take over the country, abolish Islam as the religion of the federation and install a Christian prime minister.

The parties alleged to be involved in the so-called plot had vehemently denied the reports and had lodged police reports against the Malay daily, and Utusan as well as the bloggers are presently under police investigation.

Following that Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali last Saturday called for a 'crusade' against “ungrateful Christians” should the latter pursue the alleged plot that has yet to be proven.

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