The police should not repeat their over-reaction and high-handed action on Nov. 10 over the peaceful 40,000-people Bersih gathering to hand over a petition to the Yang di Pertuan Agong for electoral reforms to ensure free, fair and clean elections and should immediately dismantle the roadblocks creating massive jams in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley since yesterday.
The massive Nov. 10 traffic gridlock creating massive congestions in Kuala Lumpur and Klang Valley were largely the creation of the police and could have been avoided or ameliorated considerably with enlightened and sensitive police handling of peaceful gatherings by citizens exercising their fundamental constitutional rights to get their voices heard in a meaningful democracy.
If the Police had issued a police permit for the Bersih peaceful gathering on Nov. 10, demonstrating greater sensitivity and respect for human rights guaranteed in the Malaysian Constitution as recommended by the Dzaiddin Royal Police Commission 30 months ago, all legitimate concerns would have been met — the concerns of the police and government with regard to law and order and the concerns of aggrieved citizenry to petition the Yang di Pertuan Agong for an end to electoral abuses.
For the Hindraf rally on Sunday, the Police has not only refused to learn any lesson to respect the human rights of Malaysians to peaceful assembly, but has decided even earlier to impose roadblocks — starting since yesterday on various roads and expressways in the Klang Valley.
Headlines of such traffic gridlocks are already in the media — “Klang Valley chokes up” (The Star), “Roadblocks mounted ahead of Hindraf rally” (The Sun), “Massive traffic jams leading into the city” (New Straits Times) and “Police roadblocks jam up roads, again” (Malaysiakini).
From all indications, the traffic gridlock in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley this time is going to be worse than a fortnight ago — no thanks to the police.
The police should stop over-reacting, dismantle the roadblocks creating massive jams in KL and Klang Valley and issue police permit for the Hindraf rally.
The Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan has again threatened prosecution against parents for bringing their children to any peaceful assembly.
Musa and all police personnel must be reminded that such warnings cannot absolve them of responsibility to ensure that the police do not harm children and women by abuse of power and excessive use of force in any crowd control.
The world has unforgettable images of the Myanmar military brutalizing defenceless monks in the September “saffron revolution”. Does Musa want the world to have equally unforgettable images of the Malaysian police brutalizing children?
The Inspector-General of Police must ensure that nothing is done to turn Nov. 25 into a bloody Sunday in Kuala Lumpur, which can only add shame and ignominy to Malaysia’s international reputation.