PM: Silent majority have spoken – we don’t want demos

The Star – Friday December 14, 2007

PETALING JAYA: The silent majority of Malaysians have spoken up and they want a stop to street demonstrations which disrupt people’s lives and cause disharmony among the country’s multi-racial population.

Representatives of Damai Malaysia – an umbrella body comprising 395 non-governmental organisations – handed over to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday a memorandum criticising the illegal street rallies.
The Prime Minister said the memorandum was a sign that people were angry with illegal protests and violent acts.
They want peace: Representatives of NGO groups under Damai handing the memorandum to Abdullah yesterday expressing their wish that peace be maintained.
“The country’s successes and achievements didn’t come about due to street demonstrations or illegal protests.
“We have progressed because we have been able to maintain democratic institutions which respect the law while the people enjoyed the fruits of peace and political stability.
“If freedom cannot be respected and used in a responsible manner, the people themselves will be at the losing end.
“As can be seen from today’s memorandum, the people who remained silent have now stood up to make their stand. They want peace to be maintained.”
He said he was informed that the street demonstrations had caused a 10% cancellation of hotel room bookings and rental of tour buses, while retail stores also reported a drop in sales.
Abdullah was speaking to newsmen after receiving the memorandum before flying off to visit flooded districts in Pahang.
At the outset, the group of about 20 people led by Damai chairman Mohd Saiful Adil Mohd Daud was not allowed to enter the Royal Malaysian Air Force Subang airbase but after waiting for the airbase authority to get back to them, they were finally allowed to go in.
Mohd Saiful Adil gave a brief speech before proceeding with five other representatives to hand over the memorandum. The group applauded before they left the place.
The whole episode took less than 15minutes.
Damai represents 1.5 million members and its representatives include those from 75 Chinese-based and 20 Indian groups and associations.
In the joint declaration read by Mohd Saiful Adil, the members expressed their disgust at street demonstrations and the use of religious and racial issues to create hatred among Malaysians.
They condemned individuals and groups who used lies and slander against the country and asked for foreign intervention in Malaysia’s internal affairs.
“We also condemn accusations that the country’s leaders had allowed ethnic cleansing to occur in the country,” he added.
Damai advisor and Bukit Bintang MCA chief Senator Datuk Dr Lee Chong Meng said the Bersih and Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) illegal demonstrations last month had caused tourists to cancel trips to Malaysia.
Cheras Hindu Youth Organisation vice-president S. Ariivazhagan regretted that Hindraf had used religion to protest.
“Hindraf has presented the wrong view to the world that the Indian community here is being persecuted. This group is not fighting for our rights,” he said.
On arrival in Kuantan, Abdullah labelled those who solicit support from outsiders as traitors and the action of Hindraf, which claimed to fight for the rights of the Indian community in Malaysia, as an attempt to destroy the country and racial unity, Bernama reports.
“Was there ethnic cleansing? There was nothing about wiping out the Indians in the country,” he said at a function to welcome him and his wife, Datin Paduka Seri Jeanne Abdullah at the RMAF base.