The recent assembly at the Jalan Duta Court Complex was indicative that the police force can act professionally if not 'interfered' by the ruling Umno-Barisan Nasional.
KUALA LUMPUR: There’s a common view that police acted “professionally” in handling the 5,000 strong crowd who assembled at the Duta Courts on Monday in support of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim who was acquitted and discharged of a sodomy charge.
It was a sharp contrast to how police had behaved during the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally for clean and fair elections.
Speaking to FMT, PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan said the conduct set by the police on Monday should be an example for future gatherings.
But he added that the conditions imposed by the police for PKR, the organiser, was “ridiculous”.
“Out of the 10 conditions set, I think PKR broke all of them as the conditions were really ridiculous. There is a big crowd you can’t expect them to assemble quietly.
“The terms are so ridiculous that people don’t follow them and the police are aware how ridiculous the terms are that they also allow for the breach of the terms.”
Arutchelvan was however quick to add that the police acted professionally and that it was visible that the public appreciated this.
“I’m not ready to praise the police just yet but I must say they acted in a professional manner and the protesters seemed to appreciate the police professionalism demonstrated at the assembly.
“The crowd, most of them when they were leaving, shook hands with the police. Some even took videos and pictures with the police personnel.
“It shows that when you don’t attack the people with water cannons, people appreciate it. And they appreciate the police for that.
“The Malaysian public are mature and the police force has to be equally mature in handling the crowd,” he said.
‘Force must reform’
Suaram coordinator E Nalini said that the gathering proved that chaos would break whenever Malaysians gathered in large quantity was a myth.
Giving credit to the police’s conduct, she said: “They played their part in managing the crowd, they were calm, they behaved well.”
She said that police professionalism was further highlighted when the explosions took place.
“The police were asking us to stay away and you can tell that they were concerned about the crowd.
“They can be professional, if they are neutral and independent. That is why the force needs to reform,” she said.
Nalini, who was close to the second explosion, said that she thought it was fireworks that had exploded instead of home-made bombs. She however said that she did not want to speculate on the matter and would leave the investigation to the police.
Meanwhile, human rights activist Fadiah Nadwa Fikri felt that the police conduct at the assembly showed that the police can be professsional when there is no interference from the Umno-BN leadership
She however felt there was no reason to pile praises on the police because that is how police are expected to behave.
“This is how it should have always been. It’s not like they (police) acted magnificently. They (police) should be behaving this way all the way – that they should be professional when the people are peaceful.
“It just shows that police can be professional without interference from the executive (ruling government),” she said, adding that the people were still very peaceful after the second explosion.