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Monday, December 30, 2013

Ex-IGP doubts Dec 31 putsch claims


Former inspector-general of police Norian Mai says Malaysians are rational and he does not feel there will be any attempt to overthrow the government, as alleged by certain quarters.

Norian, who is Yayasan Pengaman Malaysia chairperson, said in contrast to the Arab Spring demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt, the culture and scenario here in Malaysia are different.

“The background in the Arab Spring differs.

“I believe in the police capability (if there are attempts to overthrow the government). I am confident that Malaysians are rational and this would not happen,” Norian (left) said.

However, he said, if the protesters go against the law and such a protest is deemed a threat to the nation, then proper action should be taken.

The former IGP was asked whether he believes there are attempts to overthrow the government, as some have alleged, in light of the New Year’s Eve protest against price hikes at Dataran Merdeka tomorrow.

Several students and NGO groups have said they will protest at Dataran Merdeka over imminent price hikes the people will face next year.

Police have arrested and remanded a 25-year-old youth in Sarawak over a Facebook posting that is said to urge the public to take part in the so-called rally to overthrow the government.

There have also been claims by the Kuala Lumpur police that participants could bring grenades and gas masks to the protest.

However, KL deputy police chief Amar Singh (leftdeniedtoday that he had attributed such allegations to the four NGOs protesting against the increase in prices.

'Protest through proper channel'

Norian said if the people want to protest, there are proper channels and places to do so.

The government does not deny the people's right to protest, Norian said, but this had to be done accordingly and within the limits of the law.

“We have the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 (PAA). The organisers should choose an appropriate place. The authorities should also evaluate the reasons against the backdrop of public interest,” he said.

On his response to the insistence by the organisers in carrying on with the protest, Norian said the authorities could take action, within the confines of the law and public interest.

Asked whether the protest could turn violent, as the mainstream media said occurred in the Bersih 1.0 and Bersih 3.0 protests, Norian said he believes the authorities were capable of handling the matter, which is part of their challenge.  

As for part of the foundation he is representing, which comprises former top police officers, Norian said it would provide ample information to ensure there would not be any untoward incident.

Formed in May 2011, Yayasan Pengaman comprises retired senior police officers who are concerned about the welfare of retirees and it offers services to the force and to pending retirees.

Bar Council: Police should facilitate protest

Meanwhile, the Bar Council has called on the police force to live up to its recent record and facilitate the anti-price hike rally tomorrow.

"The police have, in effect, had more than 10 days’ notice of the planned event. The fact that the police have been speaking about the gathering is itself evidence of their knowledge about it.

"The police must not be pedantic in looking at the Peaceful Assembly Act. The notice period of 10 days in the Act is not intended to prevent an assembly, but to allow time for the police to make arrangements to facilitate an orderly and safe assembly.

"The police should therefore have been spending the time engaging with the organisers on this basis, instead of thumping their chests and rattling their sabres," Bar Council president Christopher Leong (above, right) said in a statement today.

The police have previously been praised for their management of an opposition rally , in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 12 last year. However, the police have termed the anti-price hike protest tomorrow as "illegal".

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