On the night of Saturday 16.7.11 police used heavy handed and unlawful tactics to disrupt a ceramah I was due to speak at in Taman Impian, Kuantan.
Two large police trucks, police jeeps, patrol cars and over 50 police personnel were deployed in an illegal attempt to intimidate those who wished to attend the ceramah. The operation was personally commanded by the acting OCPD of the district. Article 10 of the Federal Constitution grants to the rakyat the all-important freedoms of assembly and speech. Both these fundamental rights were unreasonably denied by police authorities on 16 July.
When asked why the ceramah was being prevented, the acting OCPD only said that it was up to the police to refuse permission; no reasons were given for the refusal. This makes it clear that the refusal was politically motivated and that there are general instructions from the government/ Home Ministry to prevent, obstruct and hinder ceramahs by the opposition.
Similar refusals are being encountered on a daily basis at opposition ceramahs and dinners throughout the country. What is clear is that the BN government is blatantly using the police force as a political tool to silence and repress the political opposition and civil society.
It was also shocking that when I pointed out that this is a democratic country, the acting OCPD replied,” So what, democracy?”. The police were also aggressive and said,” you jangan cari pasal ( don’t look for trouble)” when we approached them to discuss the matter.
The Prime Ministers’s claims while abroad this week that Malaysia is a free and democratic country is thus exposed as a hollow sham.
We view with increasing concern the rapid descent of our country into a ‘police state ‘ over the past several weeks. The continuing persecution of citizens wearing Bersih t-shirts, the disruption of opposition ceramahs,
the failure to release the PSM 6 preventive detainees, the demonising of Bersih and the opposition in government controlled print and electronic media, the pending criminal charges against persons exercising their democratic rights, are all symptomatic of a breakdown of good governance and the negation of the rule of law.
We demand that the BN Government immediately stop misusing police powers for political purposes, cease this ongoing persecution, release the PSM 6 and restore the people’s democratic freedoms.
VICE PRESIDENT PKR