KUALA LUMPUR: Almost 20,000 people protesting the implementation of Goods and Service Tax (GST) gathered as of 4pm, Thursday. They came from all over the country, some even arrived last night to join the protest at Jalan Raja this afternoon. The gathering is organised by non-governmental organisations (NGO) and supported by Pakatan Rakyat as well as the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM). The police has given permission to the event’s committee to use Jalan Raja which is located in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad building. Besides Sogo, participants also gathered at few other locations including the National Mosque, KLCC and Dataran Maybank. Policemen and City Hall officers had stationed themselves at various locations to look at safety and security. Police have asked the organisers to adhere to regulations, which include not bringing along weapons or children, and to follow instructions from police personal for the safety or participants.
It is learnt that there was no serious incidents, except for a scuffle between staff of PAS Unit Amal, who provided the security, when some youths who wanted to go into Dataran Merdeka. Here is a timeline of the events. Chegubard apologises on behalf of those involved in the brawl, and says he will look into the matter. “If there really were SAMM people causing harm, I apologise,” he said. However, he said those wearing SAMM T-shirts may not necessarily be from the group as it can be bought anywhere. He acknowledged that a group if people dressed in SAMM uniforms entered Jalan Raja at around 4pm in a ploom of orange smoke from a gas canister.
PSM deputy chairman M. Sarasvathy said that the turnout for the rally was “fantastic, simply fantastic”. “(People from) all walks of life, from all over Malaysia, came to protest against GST,” said Sarasvathy. He said this was the first time Malaysians had come out in large numbers to celebrate International Workers Day, May 1. She said the crowd, which had gathered at several locations around the capital city dressed in red, showed the people’s opposition to the imposition of GST, which will be implemented in April 2015.
4.10pm: PAS central committee member Dzulkifli Ahmad goes up on a makeshift stage. “With the GST, the government can earn RM20 billion, where will this come from?” he told the crowd.
4.25pm: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim goes on the stage telling the crowd “do we have to listen to the government or the government has to listen to us?”
4.30pm: The crowd at Dataran Merdeka is starting to disperse.
5.15pm: Organisers announce the rally is over and the crowd disperses.