The excessive and unreasonable action by the police in Kota Marudu to arrest the Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah for distributing Bersih flyers in Langkon, Sabah to promote the Bersih 5 rally slated on Nov. 19 to call for free, fair and clean elections must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.
Even worse is the police intimidation of members of the public for taking the Bersih flyers, as the police taking down the identity card numbers of those who take the Bersih flyers and police threats to arrest the members of the public concerned is nothing short of illegal police harassment and abuse of powers.
It is no crime under the law for anyone to take or receive the Bersih flyers, and the police are doing themselves and public respect for their independence and credibility no service by acting completely outside the province of the law in harassing or intimidating members of the public for taking or receiving the Bersih flyers.
All responsible political parties and members of the public want to be friends of the police, for the police are performing an important national service and function to uphold the law to maintain order, peace and harmony.
But the police will forfeit public respect for the police, who will cease to be friends of the people, if the police themselves break the law by indiscriminately and illegally abusing police powers as in case of the Bersih 5 publicity event in Langkon, Kota Marudu yesterday.
I call on the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar to reprimand and penalise police personnel who abused their powers in arresting Maria Chin and worse, harassing and intimidating Malaysians for taking Bersih flyers as it constitutes no crime under the law.
I hope the IGP will be as “quick on the draw” with the police abuses of powers in the arrest of Maria Chin and the police threats to members of the public for taking Bersih flyers, as he has shown with regard to complaints by members of the establishment against critics of the government.
Yesterday, Khalid again demonstrated his “quick on the draw” selective propensity when he announced that the police will record statements from three former Cabinet Ministers who are alleged to have revealed government secrets in Parliament.
I feel very sad that my worst fears have come to pass, as the Speaker of Parliament Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia is seen as an agent of the Executive to remind the Attorney-General and the Inspector-General of Police to take action against former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, former Rural and Regional Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and the former Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Husni Hanadzlah for breaking the law when they spoke in Parliament in the 2017 Budget.
The Speaker’s ignorance of the law cannot be excuse for the IGP to be ignorant of the law.
Muhyiddin, Shafie and Husni are all protected by parliamentary privilege for what they say in Parliament, except in the specific case of violating the Sedition Act in questioning one of the four “sensitive” issues entrenched in the Constitution – which neither one of the trio had done.
In fact, the Speaker should come to the defence of the three former Cabinet Ministers for what they speak in Parliament, which Speakers by parliamentary tradition and in other Parliaments would have done.
I do not understand why Pandikar is breaking with such a parliamentary tradition by being in the forefront to publicly suggest that the Attorney-General and the Inspector-General of Police should act against the trio.
In fact, the Speaker or Deputy Speaker concerned would have been guilty of gross dereliction of duty in not stopping an MP from abusing his parliamentary privilege.
The IGP should not be so gung-ho in the case of the police reports by UMNO hired-guns against the three former Ministers for their speeches in Parliament, firstly because of the protection of parliamentary privilege; and secondly, the police will be guilty of violating the law of parliamentary privilege if they proceed to obstruct MPs from carrying out their parliamentary duties.
I would advise Muhyddin, Shafie and Husni to take a stand on principle of parliamentary privilege and to inform police officers that they would lodge police report against them for violating the law on parliamentary privilege if they persist in questioning them about their speeches in Parliament, when they had not transgressed the sole exception where parliamentary immunity is excluded on the questioning on four entrenched “sensitive” issues.
(Speech at the Kepayang kopitiam ceramah after walkabout in the constituency with DAP State Assemblyman for Kepayang Dr. Edwin Bosi in Kota Kinabalu on Sunday, 30th October 2016 at 10 am)