Umno leaders will not attend this Saturday’s “Himpunan Sejuta Umat” (Assembly of One Million Believers Defending the Faith) but its members are free to attend the assembly, if they wish to do so.Umno information chief, Ahmad Maslan, said that he will not be attending the gathering as he will be at an event with Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) on Saturday.
“I will be in the event till afternoon. But we do not have an official statement refraining Umno members from attending. In other words, who wants to attend, may attend,” he said to reporters at the Parliament lobby here today.
He added: “We are not like the opposition which prevents its members from attending”.
Yesterday, both PAS and PKR confirmed that their parties will refrain from supporting the apolitical assembly at the Shah Alam stadium.
However, both parties said that they would not be able to prevent their members from attending in their individual capacity.
Selangor PAS Commissioner Abd Rani Osman was reported to have said that disciplinary action will be taken against any member spotted with party paraphernalia or declaring themselves as PAS members,
According to the organisers, they plan to gather one million Muslims to gauge the “unity” among them particularly against proselytising .
This assembly comes after the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) raided a fundraising dinner at Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) on Aug 3 over alleged proselytisation taking place.
Event organisers NGO Harapan Komuniti stood by their stance that no proselytisation took place and the event was merely to raise fund.
The matter was taken to Selangor’s Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah who decreed that the JAIS report on the raid indicated that its actions were correct and had not breached any state laws.
The Sultan also ordered JAIS to provide counselling to the Muslims present at the dinner to restore their belief and faith in the religion.
When asked today if this was a wrong time to have such gatherings as it will unlikely improve an already deteriorating inter-religious relationship, Ahmad skirted around the issue. He instead argued that the gathering was safe.
“Malaysia is tolerant in many things except street demonstration and this gathering is held in an enclosed area. Even the prime minister approved Bersih 2.0 to gather in a stadium,” he said.
Stressing that the gathering was safe, he said: “The gathering of one million is symbolic. I think the stadium’s capacity is only about 50,000. It is not detrimental to the people; so that’s why I think the permit was issued.”
“As long as it is done in a stadium, an enclosed place, it is safe. As long as they do not throw rocks on the street, it is safe,” he added.