Racial tension mounts in Chinese enclave of Malaysian capital

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Kuala Lumpur (dpa) – Opposition leaders and Chinese businessmen were preparing for a possible confrontation with ethnic Malay groups in the Malaysian capital Saturday.

Police increased security in a district of central Kuala Lumpur amid persistent rumours that Malay supporters of the government planned to march through the area to protest alleged abuses of Chinese traders.

Nurul Izzah Anwar, daughter of jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, urged Muslims to unite against efforts of some political sectors to disrupt social harmony.

“The racism we have been seeing belongs to the Stone Age,” she said.

Tens of thousands of pro-government ethnic Malays wearing red shirts gathered in central Kuala Lumpur two weeks ago to show their support for embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is under pressure to resign over corruption allegations.

One group of protesters attempted to barge into predominantly Chinese business districts, but were stopped by police.

The demonstrators accused the ethnic Chinese of disrespecting Malay leaders, including Najib.

Malaysia’s population of 30 million consists of 67.4 per cent Malays and indigenous communities, 24.6 per cent Chinese, 7.3 per cent Indians and 0.7 per cent others, according to the Department of Statistics.

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