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Najib dengan selamba menjawab, sekiranya tindakan tidak dilakukan, lebih banyak lagi himpunan yang serupa akan diadakan dan sudah pasti suasana tidak aman akan dialami terutamanya kepada pelancong asing. berita penuh dibawah..
By MATTHEW SALTMARSH AND LIZ GOOCH
Published: July 14, 2011
LONDON — If the Malaysian government allowed street demonstrations of the kind seen in Kuala Lumpur last weekend, the country would face protracted instability, Prime Minister Najib Razak said Wednesday.
Mr. Najib spoke after thousands of advocates of electoral change defied a government ban and held a large street protest Saturday, during which the police fired tear gas and water cannons and arrested nearly 1,700 demonstrators.
“Public order is very important in Malaysia because if we allow for street demonstrations, there’s no end to it, there will be another group that wants to demonstrate,” Mr. Najib told a small group of international reporters Wednesday in London, where he was to meet the British prime minister and attend an investment conference.
If protests are not controlled, “you will get a situation in which more and more of these street demonstrations will take place in Malaysia,” he said.
On Thursday in Kuala Lumpur, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia announced that it planned to hold an inquiry into police conduct during the rally. The police response has been condemned by rights advocates in Malaysia and abroad, including the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah, a member of the Malaysian commission, said Thursday that it decided to act after receiving complaints from the public, protest organizers and rights groups. “We are also acting on media reports and our own observations during the rally,” he said.
He said that details of the inquiry would be determined by Tuesday.
In London, Mr. Najib defended the police, saying they had used “minimum force, and there was no physical contact at all with the demonstrators.” The scale of the protest, he added, was exaggerated, and “a maximum of 15,000” people turned up. The police put the number at 5,000 to 6,000, while protest organizers contended it was 50,000.
The government had barred the protesters from gathering in Kuala Lumpur but said they could hold a rally outside the capital. The protest leaders insisted that it be held at Merdeka Stadium in the city, however.
“I was saddened by the fact that they didn’t accept the government’s offer,” Mr. Najib said. “They still insisted on marching through the streets, because I think they wanted to get maximum publicity and secondly challenge authority in the hope that they can make this an issue.”
The protest movement, led by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections, or Bersih, sees the situation differently. An amalgam of civic groups advocating changes in electoral laws, Bersih was declared illegal on July 1, after which hundreds of activists were arrested, though most have since been released. All those arrested on Saturday were released later that night.
The Malaysian Bar Council said in a report Tuesday that its monitors witnessed the police using tear gas and water cannons “arbitrarily, indiscriminately and excessively” and “beating, hitting and kicking the rally participants.” The protesters, it said, acted in “peaceful and calm manner,” except for an incident in which “one or more” people threw plastic bottles at a television reporter.
The Malaysian home minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, said Monday that the police force would review recordings of the incidents and that appropriate action would be taken if the police were found to have acted improperly. He also said that action would be taken against any journalists who were found to have sensationalized their reports with inaccurate information, reported The Star, a newspaper.
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said Thursday: “The Malaysian authorities’ crushing of Bersih’s march shows that when basic liberties compete with the entrenched power of the state, the government is quick to throw respect for human rights out the window.”- The New York Times
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