Two Opposing Rallies Are Happening This Weekend. Here's All You Should Know

The rally was supposed to take place tomorrow, 8 December, in tandem with the anti-ICERD rally.

Cover image via Miera Zulyana

[UPDATE] Human Rights Day Celebration Will Be Held On Sunday, 9 December Instead

Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail.

Image via NST

The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has moved the Human Rights Day celebration to Sunday, 9 December, to avoid clashing with the anti-ICERD rally held on the same day.

Malaysiakini previously reported that the rally was to be postponed on the account of "security risks."

Previously, Sukaham announced that it will be postponing the Human Rights Day rally, which was supposed to be held tomorrow, 8 December

Without much details disclosed, police informed Suhakam's chairperson Razali Ismail and the Prime Minister's office that there are security risks that "border on national security."

"Suhakam is disappointed that a government that is committed to human rights would seem to be influenced by tactics of pressure and extremism that has resulted in the need to postpone the celebration that was planned a few months ago," he said, reported the news portal.

"We apologise profusely to the public, guests, participants and volunteers to our celebration," Ismail added.

Two large rallies were supposed to take place in Kuala Lumpur this weekend, 8 December – the anti-International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) rally and Human Rights rally

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Fraudwatch Malaysia

In November, the government officially declared that Malaysia would not be ratifying the United Nations human rights treaty after receiving backlash from Malay and Muslim organisations, including opposition parties UMNO and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS).

The organisations opposed Pakatan Harapan's decision for fear that it would dilute Islam's position in Malaysia.

Following the announcement, the opposition parties will be holding a protest-turned-celebration in KL, that happens to fall on the same day as another Human Rights rally.

Here's all you should know about the two opposing rallies:

1. Both rallies are set to uphold human rights in their own context

The anti-ICERD rally is a protest-turned-thanksgiving rally to celebrate the government's move to not ratify the United Nations' (UN) human rights charter.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights rally was reported to have been planned months ago to celebrate human rights in the country. It was set in conjunction with the International Human Rights Day on 10 December.

The anti-ICERD rally is expected to take place between 2pm-6pm at Dataran Merdeka, while the Human Rights rally will take place between 9am-3pm at Padang Timur, Petaling Jaya.

2. The rallies are organised by two opposing divisions

According to The Star, the anti-ICERD rally is led by PAS, UMNO, and several non-governmental Malay-Muslim organisations. It is said to be possibly the biggest Malay-Muslim rally in Malaysia in recent times.

The Human Rights rally is organised by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam). The theme of the rally is "Stand up 4 Human Rights," reported Free Malaysia Today.

3. The Human Rights rally is not a pro-ICERD event

Suhakam commissioner Jerald Joseph.

Image via Saw Siow Feng/Malay Mail

Suhakam commissioner and rally organiser Jerald Joseph said that, "This is not a pro-ICERD rally. As a member of the United Nations, all countries, including Malaysia, declared their aspirations that they too believe in human rights standards," as reported by The Star.

Joseph added that the pro-human rights rally had been planned three months ago, before the ICERD issue cropped up.

"This is not a rally to complain to the government – this is a celebration of human rights in this country," said Suhakam's chairman Tan Sri Razali.

4. Anti-ICERD attendees are expected to vastly outnumber those at the Human Rights rally

Image via Bernama

The anti-ICERD rally is expecting 500,000 attendees, while the Human Rights rally is expecting 3,000 people.

Kelantan's PAS-led government previously declared Sunday a public holiday in an effort to encourage people to attend the anti-ICERD rally.

However, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim opposed Kelantan's decision saying that is was not rational.

5. Two prominent leaders were invited to the rallies

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be launching the Human Rights celebration at Padang Timur.

Meanwhile, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was reportedly turned down his invite to the anti-ICERD rally.

The Port Dickson MP supports the Cabinet's decision to not ratify the anti racial discrimination convention, reported The Star.

6. Six main roads in KL will be closed on Saturday from 6am onwards to facilitate the rallies

Image via Berita Harian

According to Malay Mail, Kuala Lumpur police chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim said that the roads are:

- Jalan Hishamuddin (before the tunnel),

- Leboh Pasar,

- Jalan Tun Perak (from Masjid Jamek LRT station onwards),

- Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman (near Sogo),

- Jalan Raja Laut (near Summit Hotel), and

- Bulatan Dato Onn.

All movement in and out of the city will be monitored by police. 

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