16/09/2023 07:49 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 16 (Bernama) -- Malaysia Day should be celebrated with unity and togetherness and not marred by gatherings that may disrupt national security and the daily activities of Malaysians, several prominent academicians said today.

Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Centre of Media and Information Warfare Studies Senior Lecturer Dr Noor Nirwandy Mat Noordin singled out a gathering held today as a grave concern as it did not comply with the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and invoked fake national patriotic symbolism and sentiments, which left unchecked, had the potential of giving rise to subversive elements that could affect Malaysia’s status as a peaceful and prosperous sovereign country.

"When demonstrations occur, they might create dangerous emotions that will give rise to unhealthy ideologies that can evolve into violent or subversive activities, and we don’t want this to happen the way they have abroad.

"Malaysians need to be careful as the machinations of some politicians for personal gain can cause incitement that, if failed to be controlled or managed well, may well turn into a threat against the country,” he told Bernama here today.

Mujibu Abd Muis, a Fellow of the Institution of Malay Rulers Chair, concurred with Noor Nirwandy’s assessment, stating that even though the right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed under the Federal Constitution, it should not be misused for political gain, much less peppered with sentiments aimed at tarnishing the image of certain parties.

“The issue about such high-profile gatherings is that they are for political gain and used for soundbites to denigrate certain parties or authorities.

"They do not obtain approval but keep going on, and when action is taken, they will say that the authorities are cruel and evil,” the UiTM Faculty of Administrative Science and Policy Studies Senior Lecturer said, adding that today’s gathering, held specifically to coincide with Malaysia Day, was unfitting as celebrations should be filled with constructive activities that would unify Malaysians.

According to Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Allaudeen Abdul Majid, the gathering did not receive a good response, with only around 850 participants showing up, compared to the Keretapi Sarong 2023 programme, which was attended by over 10,000 people of various ages and races at Dataran Merdeka here.

Ordinary Malaysians seemed to have deemed the gathering, which began at Kampung Baru Jamek Mosque and leading to Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, as a nuisance that disrupted their weekend activities.

A hijab trader along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jamilah Satin, 50, shared that sales were badly affected by a lack of customers as a result of the gathering.

“Usually, I can sell between 20 to 30 hijabs daily, but today only one customer showed up,” she said.

A visitor who wished to be identified only as Azam, who had shown up to shop at a shopping mall at the affected road shared that he had to waste around five hours trying to leave the area because of traffic congestion.

“I came all the way from Kelantan with my family to shop, and I didn’t expect that this gathering would disrupt my weekend outing,” he said.

Malaysians also left many negative comments on various social media channels, including a post by Hasrey Hj Haris, stating, “Please don’t join, it just causes a traffic jam. It’s only on holidays like this that people who work every day get to take their children out around Kuala Lumpur.”