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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Educate supporters on rule of law, Abim tells political parties



February 29, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 29 — Political leaders should take responsibility and educate their supporters on the rule of law to curb the rise of violence at public rallies, a group representing young Muslims said today.
The Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (Abim) said the public has had enough of incidents of political violence, which have been on the rise the nearer it gets to fresh elections being called.
“From Abim’s observation, political violence is spreading, especially with this guessing game over the date of the 13th general elections,” Abim president Amidi Abd Manan said in a statement today.
“We do not want these incidents of political violence that frequently happen overseas to spread and corrupt our nation’s stability, peace and harmony,” he added.
Without referring to any specific incident, he pointed to increasing reports of disruptions of public political speeches and rallies, leading to physical injuries and the destruction of property, including incidents of break-ins at the premises and homes of political leaders that have alarmed not just political practitioners but the general public.
Such incidents demonstrate a clear lack of political maturity and understanding of democratic principles among supporters of political parties from both the ruling coalition and opposition pact, at the grassroots level, Amidi said.
He urged all parties to act responsibly and preserve the right to freedom of expression and assembly as provided in the Federal Constitution.
But, he also called on political leaders to educate and control the behaviour and attitude of their supporters to uphold the principles of the rule of law as underlined in the Rukun Negara (the National Philosophy), and to take stern but fair action against those who try to incite violence at those events.
“Truly, the public is repulsed by the political practice of ‘matlamat menghalalkan cara’ (ends justifying the means) that is spreading and we call on all parties to play their role and bring about the principle of a ‘Negara Barakah’ (Blessed Country) that upholds principles, moral values and ethics,” Amidi said.
Allegations of provocation and violent attacks by followers of politicians from both sides of the political divide have increased significantly in the last year.
The latest reports filed with the police come on the heels of a nationwide rally last Sunday to protest Putrajaya’s decision to allow Australian rare earth miner, Lynas Corp, to commence a test run of its controversial RM2.3 billion refinery in Gebeng, Kuantan.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng claimed today that Umno and Perkasa members attacked and injured reporters and press photographers at an anti-Lynas rally in George Town three days ago.
Lim, who is also secretary-general of the DAP, filed a police report yesterday over alleged threats against him by members of the two organisations.
He said today that the same people attacked two reporters who had to seek treatment at the Penang General Hospital.
“Two journalists from Kwong Wah Jit Poh, Chew Seng Tun dan Lee Hong Chun, were beaten and injured.
“This is the second time journalists and members of the public have been threatened by Umno and Perkasa troublemakers without any stern action from the police,” he wrote in an open letter to Inspector General Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar.
The Bagan MP said that on July 1 last year, two reporters were beaten by Umno and Perkasa demonstrators at Komtar and the Penang Bridge with no subsequent action by the police to date.
Lim alleged that the threats and attacks were made at the Speakers’ Corner in Padang Kota Lama, Penang where about 100 Umno and Perkasa members had tried to disrupt the rally protesting against Lynas Corp’s rare earth plant in Kuantan.
“They used foul language, curse words and racial epithets such as ‘Cina babiPenang Cina bodohbabi sokong Lim Guan Eng ketua menteri’.
“The Umno Perkasa members surged forward, pointing their fists at me, again using racist language and threatening words like ‘you jaga’,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Sunday’s rally in Penang was held in solidarity with Himpunan Hijau 2.0 in Kuantan, which saw thousands turn up to demonstrate against the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (LAMP) in Gebeng on the outskirts of the east coast city.
He added in his letter to the police chief today that “it is clear the behaviour of policemen who kept silent and did not stop the attacks on Penang citizens is unacceptable.”
“I hope stern action will be taken by the police on the guilty parties and such incidences will not be repeated in Penang.”

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