The organisers of the Janji Demokrasi National Day eve rally today defended the right of two rally participants to fly the Sang Saka Malaya flag and called for an end to “intimidation”.
The organisers, Gabungan Janji, said that the harassment as well as the threat of an investigation against Bersih co-chairperson and national laureate A Samad Said ( centre in photo ) for reciting a poem that night shows that the government has yet to fulfill its promise to uphold civil liberties.
“On Aug 30, 2012, Samad had written a new poem for Janji Demokrasi and, as usual, he was sharing it with the nation,” they said.
In a statement today, the organisers said that the two youths who raised the Sang Saka Malaya have “courageously come forward” to explain why they did so and should not be harassed further.
“They have explained that their intention was not to replace the Jalur Gemilang but to commemorate unsung heroes.
“As the youths have explained their intention, Gabungan Janji urges all... to stop politicising the issue, stop witch hunting and stop intimidating the two youths and accept their explanation,” they said.
The rally on Aug 30 was held to remind the government of a list of unfulfilled promises, including protecting civil liberties and freedom of expression and clean and fair elections.
Other promises which the coalition said have yet to be fulfilled are the repeal of repressive laws and media freedom.
“Gabungan Janji call upon all sectors - the politicians, media and the authorities to stop politicising the event, Janji Demokrasi, and to recognise that there is now a new way to celebrate Merdeka Day - with the people.”
‘Flag wavers planting seeds of hatred’
The rally’s name, Janji Demokrasi, is a play on the National Day theme ‘ Janji Ditepati’ (Promises Fulfilled).
The NGO coalition was, however, less supportive of the youth who had bared his bottom to a picture of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor and said he deserves condemnation.
The same was said for those who stepped on the same pictures, as well as that of Election Commission chief Abdul Aziz Yusof.
“All Malaysians must view the act of stepping on one’s photo and the show of the posterior to another person as unacceptable. The offenders need to be taken to task,” they said.
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, the Home Ministry said that it viewed the act of flying a “new flag” seriously.
Its secretary-general Abd Rahim Mohd Radzi said public interest is at risk if society does not understand the negative implications of such acts.
He added that the flying of the Sang Saka Malaya “plants seeds of hatred within society and challenged national sovereignty”.
“Society needs to understand that what has happened goes against societal norms. The Home Ministry is committed in assisting the police in taking stern action against the perpetrators,” he said.