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Abdullah should show the world that Malaysia is a democratic country by allowing the peaceful gathering organized by Bersih to submit a memorandum to the Yang di Pertuan Agong on electoral reforms 

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Media Statement (3)         
by Lim Kit Siang  
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(Parliament, Friday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should show the world that Malaysia is a democratic country by allowing the peaceful gathering organized by Bersih (Coalition for Free and Fair Elections) at the Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow to submit a memorandum to the Yang di Pertuan Agong on electoral reforms.

Malaysia will become the laughing-stock in the international arena if Malaysians are not even allowed the fundamental and constitutional right provided in the Malaysian Constitution for 50 years to gather peacefully to submit a petition to the Royal Palace, not to advocate any violence or even for an overthrow of the government, but for electoral reforms to ensure that the next general election is clean, free and fair and the election results are not marred by electoral abuses, fraud and other malpractices.

Bersih officials have appealed to the Kuala Lumpur City Chief Police Officer, Datuk Zul Hasnan Najib against the rejection by the Dang Wangi District Police Chief ACP Mohd Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman for a permit the gathering at Dataran Merdeka.

The police should be mindful of the important declaration in the Rukunegara that Malaysia is dedicated "to maintaining a democratic way of life", and as such, it is one of the national objectives which the Police should be duly committed to protect and promote by allowing the peaceful gathering to submit a petition to the Yang di Pertuan Agong on electoral reforms.

There is no basis whatsoever for the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan to be "doubtful of the intentions" of Bersih or the peaceful character of the gathering as its sole purpose is to submit a petition to the Yang di Pertuan Agong.

I for one can vouch for the bona fide of the peaceful gathering tomorrow and that there is no intention whatsoever by anyone to create any untoward incident.

I call on the police to work with patriotic Malaysians who are concerned about fulfilling the Rukunegara objective to maintain a meaningful democratic way of life by allowing the peaceful submission of a petition to the Yang di Pertuan Agong to be carried out smoothly without any impediment from any quarter.

The police have announced that 4,000 police personnel have been mobilized at Dataran Merdeka to keep the peace. This is clearly an over-reaction and over-mobilization, but with 4,000 police personnel, the police should have all the necessary assurances to ensure that the peaceful gathering to submit the petition to the Yang di Pertuan Agong will indeed be a peaceful one or something is very wrong with the status of law and order in Malaysia.

Let tomorrow be a day where all Malaysians can hold their heads high that democracy in Malaysia is observed in practice and not just in words.
 

(9/11/2007)  


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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