KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17, 2015

Former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said politically-inclined groups were free to express their views through rallies but must do so without resorting to violence.

He said it was important that they do not take any action that resulted in fights as that would not bring any benefit to the country.

“If they wanted to wear red shirts to show their support (for any party), that is all right, and the same goes for the yellow shirts,

“If there is fighting, it will lead to many things that are undesired,” he said alluding to the colours worn by Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu rally goers and Bersih 4.0 supporters respectively.

Malaysia’s fifth premier, fondly known as Pak Lah, was speaking to reporters after attending a farewell programme at the Institute Islamic Understanding Malaysia (IKIM) for former director-general Datuk Nik Mustapha Nik Hassan here today.

Yesterday, an estimated 30,000 people took to the streets to defend Malay dignity and the current administration.

The otherwise peaceful rally was mired by a fracas outside the predominantly Chinese marketplace in Petaling Street after protesters attempted to breach a police barrier.

On the racial elements that arose from the red shirt rally yesterday, Abdullah said he was concerned about race relations in Malaysia but stressed that it had not deteriorated since he left office.

“We must make every effort (to stop this deterioration), especially among those who were the leaders of the groups,

“They must not allow any of their people to come up with any kind of action that leads to quarrels.”

On the dignity of Malays being affected lately, Abdullah said he did not believe this.

Asked about Umno Supreme Council Member Tan Sri Annuar Musa’s statement that his brand of racialism was “in accordance to Islam”, Abdullah said there was no racialism in religion.

Abdullah, who championed the moderate Islam Hadhari during his administration, however, refrained from commenting on Annuar’s contention that the struggle for race was encouraged by Islam.

“I don’t follow this.”

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