Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Between public freedom and public order...
Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said today that the preliminary findings of the independent panel on Bersih 3.0 prove that there is a need to find a balance between public freedom and maintaining public order.
While maintaining that none — including the police — would be spared if found to have broken the law, he said the violence only supported the Government’s position on the need to have mass gatherings in a controlled environment.
“We could see that emotions went out of control, and this applies both to the authorities and those assembled. That is why we suggested for it to be in a stadium."
Hisham was commenting on news reports quoting panel chairman former IGP Tun Hanif Omar who said that low-ranking policemen had acted unprofessionally in handling the Bersih 3.0 crowd.
Hanif said Kuala Lumpur police chief Deputy Comm Mohmad Salleh testified that he had seen via monitors at the Bukit Aman control centre that some officers had acted unprofessionally.
The panel also saw police giving 'uncalled-for slaps' to protesters when viewing footage of the controversial rally last April 28.
Hanif was reported to have said the police had no standard operating procedure (SOP) in handling the media at the rally, where nearly a dozen pressmen on duty were assaulted and detained.
Hishammuddin urged the public to take an impartial view of the situation.
“I believe even the IGP won’t condone such acts (by police officers). I only ask that everyone be fair and to not prejudice the findings of the panel,” he said.
Hisham was very downright about it. I personally support any move by the authority and the government and even the Opposition to make public order as their top priority, especially at the time when Malaysia is faced with exploding issues like racism and religious cults.
I, however, do not agree with what Hanif said about the police. Anywhere in the world, including the US and Britain, the police will have to 'reciprocate' with the unruly protesters. Police or not, they are human with emotion and sentiment.
Yes, there are good and bad cops but how do we categorize the protesters who attacked the policemen?
The Opposition will make a big noise over the injury sustained by some protesters but said nothing if a policemen dies in the hands of the protesters.
Hisham gave a good point there...