Sunday, August 2, 2009

Anti-ISA Rally

Still on the anti-ISA rally yesterday. The Star announced that only about 5,000 protesters took part (August 02, 2009, p N6). The New Straits Times Online reckons the number of anti-ISA demonstrators gathered in the capital city yesterday was some 10,000 people (Webpage http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/articles/20090802155023/Article/index_html, accessed today) while The Malaysian Insider puts the numbers at more than 20,000 (Webpage http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/34013-guan-eng-says-cops-should-remand-criminals-and-not-juveniles, accessed today).



And another Minister has to open his big mouth. This time, the Federal Territory Minister, Senator Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin loudly complained that this illegal demonstration has given our country a bad image to the outside world, and he even volunteered to estimate the losses and damages to property as between RM100-200 million (Webpage
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?sec=nation&file=%2F2009%2F8%2F2%2Fnation%2F20090802195504, accessed today). My question: Can we put a price on a fundamental right – the freedom of expression? Unsurprisingly, Najib Razak defended the cops and dismissed yesterday’s rally as just a public inconvenience (Webpage http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/malaysia/34005?task=view#pc_139003, accessed today). That's a really cheap shot!

Said P Ramakrishnan of human rights group Aliran: “If so much power and the apparatus of oppression can be marshalled to confront and crush a peaceful march, the question arises, why then can’t the same effort and enthusiasm be mounted to meet the challenge of street crime?” (Webpage http://en.suarakeadilan.com/current-news/2009/08/12859, accessed today). What more is there to say? PDRM's priorities are grossly misplaced.

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