Published on: Sunday, January 13, 2013
Kota Kinabalu: The 'Himpunan Sabah Bangkit' rally at the Chong Thien Vun Park here on Saturday went without a hitch - although advised by the police earlier that it was illegal.
Its organiser, Gabungan NGO Menuntut Hak Rakyat Sabah (Gegar) and members from 10 non-governmental organisations were seen gathering at Sempelang Asia City before proceeding to the park at 2pm where some 1,000 people, a majority of them onlookers, turned up.
Participants were seen carrying banners and posters while chanting slogans demanding their 11 claims for the people and youth of Sabah to be heard by the Government. Gegar Coordinator and Sabah Bangkit Organising Chairman Harieyadi Karmin said he was happy with the support, particularly from youths and urged the Government to pay attention to their demands.
"We will not stop here because the fight for the rights of Sabahans particularly youths will continue," he said.
"I believe in Article 10 of the Constitution which guarantees the freedom of assembly and we want people to realise that the fight for our rights is not done just for political reasons".
"We want the people, particularly youths to really understand the reason for standing up for our rights and not merely think that it's for political reasons because Sabah does not belong to politicians, it belongs to the people," he said.
He said they would be doing a roadshow statewide to invite youths to support their struggle and fight for change towards a better future, adding that they would go to Kinabatangan on Jan. 18.
To a question, he said they are aware that the police have issued a statement advising them against holding the rally, adding they have contacted the police on the matter.
"The rally was initially scheduled to be held for two hours but we decided to shorten it to only one hour because we respect and appreciate that the police have implemented their duties," he said.
There to show support were Solidarity Anak Muda Sabah (Sams) representative, Rashida Kamal, who hoped the current government system would change, adding that they are serious in their demand for changes because it concerns the future of their children.
NGO Initiatif Selamatkan Insan Tertindas (Insan) Coordinator, Mohd Faris Abdullah, meanwhile, said the government should not stop people from supporting whatever political party they wished.
Also present were Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam Se-Malaysia (Gamis) Sabah President Mohd Hisham Mohd Jais who said they came to support the rally because they are a non-governmental organisation comprising undergraduates who will speak out against any political party which has done wrong.