Malaysian PM justifies crackdown on reform protest

Last Updated: Saturday, August 13, 2011 - 20:15

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has justified a crackdown on a protest last month for
electoral reforms in the country, saying street demonstrations
could turn violent and end up in riots.

The government`s actions then was to avoid serious
untoward incidences such as attacks on people and burning of
shops, Razak said.

The gathering of more than five persons in a public place
to hold a rally needs permission of police in this country.

Thousands of people had started marching towards the city
centre on July 9 to take part in a protest rally by NGO Bersih
2 but they were stopped by police manning the streets.

The government had said a rally on the streets would be
illegal and had asked the organisers to hold it inside a
stadium.

However, Bersih said that it was not given permission in
the stadium it wanted to hold it in.

Najib said in a street protest, there was always a
possibility that the situation could spiral out of control as
some parties with bad intentions might take advantage of the
situation.

Speaking after chairing the ruling coalition Barisan
Nasional supreme council meeting here yesterday, he also
regretted that the government`s offer to hold the rally in the
suburb of Shah Alam stadium was not taken up by the Bersih
rally organisers.

"That offer of a stadium was never withdrawn. We took
that decision to avoid any bad incidents."

Thanking the police, he said their actions during the
rally ensured no property was damaged. Najib also gave his
assurance on the government`s commitment towards free and fair
elections and that it was not a goal that was monopolised by
any particular party.

"We will be discussing with the Election Commission on
these issues and other parties can also do likewise."

PTI



First Published: Saturday, August 13, 2011 - 20:15

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