KOTA KINABALU Mac 7, 2012: The peaceful rally, 123 Bangkit, planned for next week has received a nod from the police, according to organizer Bela Tanah Rakyat Sabah (TABAH).
Its president, Hishammuddin Sulaiman, said city police chief Assistant Commissioner Ahmad Sofi Zakaria had given Tabah the green light for the event following a fruitful meeting with the security agency yesterday morning.
“They have given us positive feedback and views on this gathering, and this green light would be good for the people of Sabah as the event is solely to express the interest and views of the people,” he said in a press conference held at Sabah PAS office here yesterday.
However, asked if any official permit had been issued by the police, he said Tabah was only required to notify the authority and no permit was needed for such a peaceful gathering.
“We did not apply for a permit because the country’s constitution does not require a permit for a public gathering as long as it is a peaceful gathering,” he said.
He added that 123 Bangkit was not a demonstration but a peaceful, non-political gathering that would be attended by people from various background.
“It is something that has to be done to better protect native rights to their land,” he said.
Hishammuddin stressed Tabah was only organizing a gathering and had advised the attendees against any procession or action that could lead to violence or friction with the authority or the government.
Asked whether any participating political leaders would address the public at the gathering, he said that was not part of 123 Bangkit’s programme and it would be between the authority and the leaders involved.
“What we want to do is to hand over a memorandum on native land issues to the Chief Minister’s office and the gathering is meant to provide an opportunity to the public and political leaders to show their support,” he said, adding that the memorandum would include proposals on how to effectively resolve Sabah’s land issues.
The gathering will be held at 9am on Monday at Anjung Selera, not far from the Chief Minister’s office in Wisma Innoprise.
Based on the encouraging response received so far, Hishammuddin said he was confident that the initial target of getting 5,000 people to participate in the gathering would be achieved.
He said mini gatherings would also be organized for Sabahans currently working or living at various other locations in Peninsular Malaysia and overseas, including Amsterdam and Syria.
He also claimed that leaders from various political parties, including PAS, SAPP and DAP, as well as a number of non-governmental organizations had expressed their support towards 123 Bangkit.
“We have held meetings with them and they have given us their inputs and views on the event,” he said.