On the 1st august 2010 police barred and disrupted the gathering at Dataran MBPJ, Padang Timur in Petaling Jaya, Selangor to hold a peaceful candle light vigil to commemorate ISA’s 50th anniversary. Members of the Light Strike Force (LSF) chased the 300-strong crowd just as the latter began signing Negaraku. Police acted violently beating and kicking those dispersing and chasing the crowd that went into the Amcorp shopping mall. Similar treatments were accorded to peaceful gatherings in Penang and Kota Bharu. Police arrested 30 people in PJ, 5 in Penang and 2 in Kota Bharu. I understand that 2 SUHAKAM members were present and their appeal and pleading with the police were ignored. Five of those arrested in PJ were arrested in front of the PJ police station when they went to the police station.  

It is shameful that police use ISA to arrest peaceful candle light vigil observers. Police act as though they are the law themselves and that they have no regard for right to gather peacefully and freedom to speak. Looks like Malaysia is already an undeclared police state and anyone can be arrested and detained any time. How can peaceful candle light vigil with children and women around near a bustling shopping complex threaten the security?

In this challenging economic times Malaysia don’t need this kind of negative image worldwide which will drive FDIs and tourist away. Besides police are alienating themselves from Malaysian people. Employing disproportionate and excessive force on peaceful gathering will further tarnish the image of police force. No use of writing friendly slogans in police stations but their action is completely contrary to what is written.

In the last senate sitting I moved an emergency motion to debate the police shooting of 15 years old school student Amirul Rashid who was shot dead by police. The motion was rejected by senate president. Till now the police did not reveal the findings of their inquest into the shooting incident. I call upon the IGP and the minister of internal affairs to be more transparent and accountable when dealing with Malaysian people.

ISA is an outdated law that have to be removed and shouldn’t be continuously abused. In 2008 Malaysians have sent a clear message that they want reform and the Prime Minister Datuk seri Najib Tun Razak started with a lot promise to bring about reform. His People first and performance now seem to be a mockery and political rhetoric.

Explore posts in the same categories: From the desk of Senator S Ramakrishnan

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