05 May, 2007

The Police Should Combat Crime, Not Oppress the People

Anwar Ibrahim:The Police Should Combat Crime, Not Oppress the People

On 3 February 2007 I was scheduled to speak at a ceramah organised by the Petaling Jaya Selatan Division of Parti Keadilan Rakyat along with other Keadilan leaders at Taman Medan.

The division had applied for a police permit for the event. Yet, this was refused. On the day of the ceramah, the police and the Federal Reserve Unit decided to install road blocks in roads leading to the venue. Hundreds of policemen and MBPJ officers barricaded the venue.

Nevertheless, over 3,000 members of the public defied the police intimidation and attended the ceramah. When I arrived at the scene, the police did not want to allow anyone to speak all. After pressuring the police, they relented and I spoke for twenty minutes to the crowd.

I have raised questions pertaining to the murder of Altantuya, the payment of onerous commissions amounting to more than RM1 billion ringgit in weapons procurement, the purchase of a luxury yacht as well as other issues that have not been answered by the government. Is this why the government is scared and decide to misuse the police instead?

On the next day, 4 February, members of the public unhappy over the recent toll hikes organised a peaceful gathering in front of IOI Mall, Puchong. Again, the police decided to arrests 15 Opposition leaders and activists despite the peaceful nature of the assembly.

It is unfortunate that the police continue to resort to use fear and intimidation as they become nothing but a tool to the ruling government. The police state may have started by Tun Dr. Mahathir, yet for all his lip service towards transparency, accountability and openness, the Prime Minister has not dismantled the oppressive apparatuses of the state at all and continue to use it to mask his own weaknesses.

A few kilometers from the site of the Taman Medan ceramah, a massive robbery took place in Subang Parade that left two security guards as well as a robber dead; while another security guard critically injured. Many ordinary Malaysians patronising the shopping mall with their family on a Saturday night were left running in panic or hiding in fear due to the exchange of gunfire. 50 bullets were found at the scene.

While the police is more interested to become servants to the government in an effort to oppress the Opposition, Malaysia’s crime rate has risen dramatically. Frequently we hear complaints that the police is facing limited manpower and time to carry out their duties effectively; surely this limitation becomes more acute when their resources are used to prevent the activities of legitimate political parties. The police should focus on their main responsibility of preventing crime and guaranteeing the safety of ordinary Malaysians.


According to Bernama, "Zainuddin Proposes Classification Of Web Bloggers"

Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin said today Malaysia has to classify web bloggers as professionals and non-professionals as a mechanism to prevent misuse of blog sites.

He said he believed that professional bloggers were those who were more responsible in ensuring that their web content was based on the truth and not rumours.

"This classification will also facilitate the action to be taken against those found to have violated the country's laws," he told a press conference at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), here.

Zainuddin said certain people in the country had misused blog sites for their own interest and that of their groups, including by touching on matters enshrined in the Federal Constitution such as those of a religious nature and others that sparked uneasiness among the multiracial population.

"We have to control this. It is feared that these (blog sites) will be misused by those who have an agenda to spread slander. By right, there should be a mechanism to control this phenomenon, including by classifying web bloggers as professionals and non-professionals," he said.

Zainuddin said this was important in enabling the people to determine whether they could trust a certain matter and whether the blog content was the truth or a rumour that could cause discomfort or undermine unity.

"Placing trust in news based on rumours was a practice that existed before the advent of newspapers but the situation is different today when we have newspapers and television stations to disseminate information," he said.

The minister said that during his recent visit to France, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nice-Matin Press Group, Michel Camboul, had mentioned the need for the French government to classify bloggers and expressed concern over blog sites having an impact on newspaper circulation and the buying of advertisements in newspapers there.

Zainuddin said the Internet had yet to be widely used by the people in Malaysia and if blog sites became an alternative press that forced the shutdown of newspapers, the rural people who depended on newspapers would be denied the right to information (?)

He reminded web bloggers not to touch on matters that had been agreed upon by consensus by the multiracial population in the country, such as the special position and privileges of the Malays, the Rulers, and Islam, so as to maintain peace and harmony.

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