Saturday, September 10, 2011

Blame It On the Police

Geoff Andrew’s invitation to me to be a judge at the Joint P2-P5 Area Humorous Speech & Evaluation contests saw me braving Saturday traffic to reach the appointed venue, i.e. Melia Hotel in Jalan Imbi, KL. I blushed a little when I saw Gayathry Bala Krishnan (Area P5 Governor) because I had declined her invitation – not knowing that both hers and Geoff’s event were one and the same! In fact, there were three separate contests being organized today and this explains why it has been a challenge to locate judges and role-players for contests this term! There were altogether 12 contestants and the bulk of them were from two clubs, i.e. Tiger Toastmasters and AmBank Group Toastmasters. I won’t comment on the speeches because I am not supposed to.

The police response to the Bersih 2.0 rally on July 09, 2011

I know I had said that I won’t remark on anything pertaining to Koh Tsu Koon but sometimes, I have to break my own promise. Sure, we have accepted that he is a political eunuch – but when I think again, so too are the MCA, MIC, PPP and all the others who are allied to UMNO. All of them have been hopelessly enslaved that they don’t really matter anymore. But when Koh today pointed fingers at the police and claimed that their handling of the July 09 Bersih rally was the cause of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s approval rating decline - you may read my blog posting dated August 29, 2011 - the points he made merit a response.

Koh had agreed with Mahathir Mohamad’s view that the Bersih rally had affected the government’s image, but stressed that Putrajaya had never meant to “stifle” anyone’s freedom of speech or right to express themselves. Koh, a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, additionally said measures taken by the police during the rally had given the public the “impression” that the government was “too restrictive”, and that this was untrue.

Constitutional expert Professor Abdul Aziz Bari disagreed, saying: “The buck stops with the government; it cannot point the finger at the public servants... In the Bersih affair, the police were acting under the instructions of the government”. He mentioned that Article 43 (3) of the Federal Constitution dictates that the police force answers to no one but the government of the day.

Furthermore, he added that the Najib administration’s move to pin the blame on the police was not a new occurrence, and that a similar tactic was employed by Mahathir during the infamous Operasi Lalang. [For those who didn’t know, Ops Lalang. was a police crackdown on opposition leaders and social activists on October 27, 1987 that netted 106 persons and who were detained under the Internal Security Act].

“Serve the police right. They have become a guinea pig again,” Aziz scoffed.

I am of the view that the police top brass conspired with elements within the government to attack peaceful citizens. I can still recall the open hostility toward Bersih 2.0 by Najib, Muhyiddin, Hishammuddin and others – so what Koh said was pure baloney! The government cannot absolve themselves from the wrongdoing and they must pay for this crime.

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