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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

'Expect pre-emptive arrests of Bersih leaders'

PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim anticipates that Bersih 2.0 leaders could be arrested before the event even takes off next weekend. He said the possibility cannot be discounted that the government will use either the ISA or other laws to detain Bersih 2.0 leaders to protect their own position. "These corrupt and wicked leaders will use whatever excuse to maintain their grip on power," he told journalists after having his statement recorded on alleged sedition and illegal assembly in relation to the rally on July 9.

NONEAnwar (left) emerged from the Dang Wangi police station at around 5.30pm after spending nearly an hour getting grilled by officers over a speech he made during a Pakatan Rakyat ceramah in Brickfields on June 12. While it was not a Bersih 2.0 event, the former deputy prime minister did call on Malaysians to come out in support of the rally. Anwar is being investigated under Section 4 of the Sedition Act and Section 27(5) of the Police Act. He was accompanied by his wife and PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, and represented by lawyers N Surendran, R Sivarasa, Latheefa Koya and Fadiah Nadwa Fitri. Anwar was however evasive when asked again if he thinks the police will take pre-emptive measures against Bersih 2.0's committee, saying instead that it is a question best answered by the people in power. “That, you will have to ask Hisham, Najib and Rosmah,” he said, referring to Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor. 'Let the police do their work' Anwar also slammed the ruling BN coalition, particularly leading party Umno, for allegedly pulling the strings in the police force. NONEPointing to last night's rowdy protest gathering by Umno Youth members in front of PKR's headquarters, he said that is a clear example of the police afraid of doing its work without direct orders from Umno. “Our meeting was very peaceful and not rude (tidak biadap), very different from the group last night, with their curses and threats of burning and murder... But the police were unable to do anything. It is clear there are political instructions.” Anwar stressed that the problem lies not with the police, but the overbearing interference of the ruling party in the work of the men in blue. “If the police are allowed to act professionally, no problem will arise. The problem comes when the police (receive political) orders.” When asked if the Bersih 2.0 committee should consider cancelling the rally after opposition from business owners and taxi associations, he said the best solution is for the police to help manage the event. “There are those who oppose, and those who don't. There are also those who oppose Umno, so do you want to make Umno illegal? “We follow the process, and the way is to manage (the situation), so that the roads are under control and that (protesters) use the approved streams, as done by many countries. “I believe this (is the) way... (If the police agree), a meeting between Bersih and the police can be held,” he said. - Malaysiakini

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