Thursday 30 August 2012

Janji Demokrasi: 5,000 near Dataran Merdeka

About 5, 000 people gathered to protest the building of the My Rapid Transit along Jalan Sultan.

KUALA LUMPUR: More than 5,000 people gathered near Pasar Seni tonight to protest the construction of the My Rapid Transit (MRT) line.

Congregating at the Gospel Hall along Jalan Hang Jebat at around 8pm, the crowd – many of whom clad in yellow Bersih T-shirts – demanded for the government to stay away from the Jalan Sultan area.

Their protest was part of a matter that dominated the area for the past 13 months: the building of underground tunnels, which some argued would put heritage sites there at risk.

Preservation for Jalan Sultan Committee chief Stanley Yong Yew Wei told the crowd: “If it is to be built, what will happen to the memory (of Jalan Sultan)?”

He was flanked by several Jalan Sultan landowners and DAP elected reps.

They were also supported by Himpunan Hijau Raub, Janji Demokrasi and other activist groups.

They then demanded three things:
  • withdrawal of the new gazetting of the land and its subsequent land acquisition.
  • for the importance of public consultation to be realised.
  • urging Malaysians to make a “wise decision” in the next general election.

Yong further warned that the committee would not hesitate to call for another rally to defend Jalan Sultan “if necessary”.

Earlier, about 2,000 gathered at Jalan Sultan. The crowd, which swelled to about 5,000, later marched from the Gospel Hall at around 9pm towards the Pasar Seni LRT station. They were accompanied by drummers and a lion dance troupe.

Along the way, they chanted “Defend our heritage!” and “Bersih!”

The crowd finally stopped at the station and gathered there before dispersing at around 9:40pm.

Many of them later made their way for the Janji Demokrasi rally, scheduled to start at nearby Dataran Merdeka at 11pm. The iconic square itself is cordoned off to facilitate the official Merdeka celebration tomorrow morning.

The crowd cheered when PAS deputy president Mat Sabu showed up.

Asked later on what he meant by more rallies, Yong said: “Certainly one rally is not enough to translate our message clearly (to the government)… It is clearly a useful tool to bring solidarity among the people.”

He added that he did not see large rallies forming along Jalan Sultan in the future unless there was a need for it.

The committee’s supporters, he said, would gather at Parliament or at various ministry headquarters, instead.

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