(Still on the Hindraf’s rally)
(Photo source: Jeff Ooi)
The IGP said that street protest is not a Malaysian culture and as such police will take stern action on anyone who is involved in street protest.
I strongly agree with the IGP – street protest is not really our “desired Malaysian ritual” but before anyone forgets, ask what about the police permission that was granted to the PM’s son in law to “monkey” around in a protest against Condoleezza Rice’s visit during last year’s Asean Regional Forum. It was a street protest too but the police seem more than happy to allow the protest so near the event location. In which category of “culture” was this protest was classified? Good culture? Not-to-be questioned culture?
Water guns and strong tactics were clearly missing from the scene and the head protestor, KJ was given a “VIP treatment” to shout anti-US slogans and was able to make his way in to see Condoleezza Rice. If it has been somewhere else, the US Secret Service would probably have jumped on this head honcho and would have dragged his sorry ass from the scene.
Contrast that with the recent protest on 10th November – at first they denied a permit and then they used unnecessary force to “quell” the protest, then they said that King did not support the rally and when similar protest is organized, they said that it is not our culture and warned the would be participants to stay clear of the rally. In addition to that, “traffic jams contributing” road blocks have been set up way ahead of the event day to catch “trouble makers”. Why did not they arrest KJ (or any of the member of the mob) in the earlier rally? Why the double standard now?
Well, it could have been just a “wayang kulit” on the part of the PM’s son in law to get cheap publicity (the main characteristic of Malaysian politicians). After all, isn’t US one of our biggest trading partners? And that Condoleezza Rice was invited by none other than the PM himself? So, the rally by KJ could have been just an act to satisfy a small group of supporters but the thing is, no matter what was the intention, it is still a protest with disruption of civil order and to business – not to mention getting a “good name” at international level.
Another source picked IGP as saying this:-
“…the illegal gathering was planned by the organizers just to have a street demonstration which will adversely affect the country’s economy”
Come on brother…what country’s economy?
It may sound funny on how irrelevant things are hastily tied to picture a bad picture of the rally but I don’t think there is much impact of the rally on the “economy” if it is well organized and the crowd control is well managed by the police. Probably this is why the organizers are having the rally on a Sunday morning (when most of the Malaysian busy sleeping) – to minimize whatever damage that may occur on the country’s economy.
Having said that, I think probably it is better if the IGP instead re-look into his decision to setup roadblocks on working days instead of having it on the day itself. Having road blocks and traffic jam due to this has a bigger impact on the economy than the rally itself. Couple of my friends have been turning up to work late due to this unnecessary traffic jams.
So, drop the “culture” of double standards, and then perhaps we can start talking about dropping the culture of street protest.
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