KUALA TERENGGANU, May 12: The People's Awakening Movement (Gertak) has indefinitely postponed a controversial gathering in Terengganu tomorrow following protests over its racist overtones.
The event, first exposed by PAS leaders and which later attracted protests from the public including the MCA and MIC, was due to be held at the Gong Badak stadium tomorrow.
Following the announcement, a huge billboard publicising the event and showing a portrait of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has been replaced this morning with another billboard.
Pic: A new billboard replaces the earlier huge portrait of Dr Mahathir.
Welcoming the decision not to go ahead with the event, PAS secretary-general Mustafa Ali said such programmes should not be planned in future.
Mustafa said by holding the programme on May 13, the anniversary of bloody racial riots in 1969, the organisers had sent the wrong message to Malaysians of all races.
He hoped GERTAK's chairman, Razali Idris, had learnt his lessons. Razali is Marang UMNO's vice-chairman.
Mustafa also praised chairman of the Malaysian Institute of Integrity (IIM), Dr. Mohd Tap Sallleh for voicing out against the event, which was to be jointly organised by the Institute's Terengganu branch.
Earlier, Mohd Tap expressed his disappointment that IIM Terengganu was co-organising the event.
"If it is true that such a programme will be held and the IIM is involved, we are sad," he said after receiving a protest memorandum from PAS Youth at the IIM offices in Jalan Duta, this morning.
Mohd Tap said he only came to know about the event and the existence of the ultra-Malay group People's Awakening Movement (GERTAK) after being informed by Mustafa.
Yesterday, Terengganu PAS Youth hit out at the state's Integrity Institute for joining forces with GERTAK to organise the event.
Ustaz Mohd Nor Hamzah, the state's Youth head, said the programme smacked of racism and was a threat to racial harmony, and questioned the choice of May 13 as the date.
"Even more suspicious is that the programme will be held on May 13, a date which is synonym with the 1969 racial riots," he said.