The police today said they will deploy up to 2,000 security forces to crack down on a planned street demonstration in the capital to protest recent fuel price hikes.
KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's police said Thursday they will deploy up to 2,000 security forces to crack down on a planned street demonstration in the capital to protest recent fuel price hikes.
City police chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman said between 1,500 and 2,000 security forces will be deployed to stop the opposition conservative Muslim party PAS-led march in the capital on Friday.
"We will close several roads leading to the area if necessary," he said, according to state Bernama news agency.
Salahuddin Ayub, PAS youth chief said more rallies will be held in coming weeks to oppose last week's 41.0 percent fuel price hike, which raised petrol prices at the pump to 2.70 ringgit per litre (0.84 dollars per litre).
"We are protesting so that the government realises how badly the people are suffering with such a huge rise in fuel prices," he told AFP.
He said the expected 10,000-strong protest will begin at a city mosque after Friday prayers, before marching to the capital's iconic Petronas Twin Towers -- named after the state oil company.
"The poor are facing a nightmare having to deal with such a big fuel rise as the price of basic food like rice and flour have also shot up," he said.
The Keadilan party, led by opposition figurehead Anwar Ibrahim, was also planning a protest, aimed at gathering one million people in the streets of Kuala Lumpur, party spokesman Tian Chua told AFP.
He said the protest would go ahead "with or without a police permit."
"We are opposing the price increase because this is in the heart of every Malaysian," he said.
Several smaller street protests have erupted over the past week, including two in the northern manufacturing hub of Penang and several in the country's capital.
Opposition leaders have warned that they will keep protesting the hikes until the government reviews its decision.
Abdullah has said there will be no more fuel price hikes for the rest of the year and has implemented measures to help cushion the effects of the increase through cash rebates and cost-cutting measures. But critics say the moves are not enough.