Pro-Umno Group’s Planned Parliament Protest Fails to Kick Off

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Stand-off between group and cops at Bukit Aman, demonstrators abandon march after police block their path.

A planned protest by an Umno-linked group of some 75 individuals failed to take off outside Parliament building after the police intervened.

The group, known as ‘Pemantau Malaysia Baru’ (New Malaysia Watchdogs), had initially planned to march towards Parliament from Bukit Aman.

Dressed predominantly in black, the group wanted to protest against alleged attempts by the Government to undermine the King’s power, the position of Islam, and bumiputra rights in the country.

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin

The demonstrators had last week said the march was also to protest an unsubstantiated allegation that the DAP wanted to make Christianity the official religion in Malaysia.

Led by Umno supreme council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam, the group had gathered at the Bukit Aman police headquarters parking lot porch early this morning.

Police stepped in to stop the group at 8.30am when they started to move out from the carpark, after motivational speeches from Umno Youth executive council member Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz and artiste Elly Suriaty Omar.

A standoff between the group and 28 officers from the police and the Light Strike Force saw the group being ordered to disperse.

It is understood that police had stopped the group from marching citing reasons of safety and possible traffic obstructions with the morning rush hour traffic flow in the surrounding access roads.

Lokman was then seen negotiating with officers from the Dang Wangi district police headquarters, where a resolution between the police and protestors was thought to have been met.

However, the Light Strike Force, a police unit normally deployed for crowd control, were seen standing on guard and in formation where the crowd had convened the entire length of the gathering.

A scuffle nearly broke out after the protestors defied police orders not to march towards Parliament.

However, Lokman told the group to calm down and the crowd dispersed shortly at 10am.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Lokman said the group would stand down and stop their attempted march to Parliament.

“We tried twice, but both times the police stopped us. I asked them to cite which law they were exercising, but they failed to clarify,” he said.

“They are just doing their job, but I believe they were under direct instructions from the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“We do not know why, but it could be because he is afraid of us showing our allegiance to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,” Lokman alleged.

“We just wanted to walk to Parliament to show our support and loyalty to the King, which is evident in our placards that read ‘daulat tuanku‘ and ‘rakyat dan raja berpisah tiada‘,” he claimed.

Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V was at the Parliament this morning to deliver his royal address in the Dewan Rakyat.

Last week, Lokman had said the protesters would march with their mouths covered by tape and hands bound, a symbol to imply the lost of power suffered by the King, had the protest gone through.

This follows outcry by pro-Muslim groups and political parties over the appointments of several non-Muslim individuals into high-ranking positions of government institutions and the Cabinet.