Bersih 3.0: Public order and preservation

— Maj (Rtd) Lee Kong Kok
The Malaysian Insider
May 02, 2012

MAY 2 — I was prompted to write this article after being on the ground and reading the many reports of how a carnival-like rally turned so ugly.

I’m a retired Army officer having served 27 years. A day before Bersih 3.0, I e-mailed my ‘squad mates’ that I would be participating in the rally and cheekily ended by saying I planned to see first-hand POPO (Public Order and Preservation Ordnance) in action. The Army has an obligation to assist the Police under POPO should they ask the Army to step in. Hence, during my time, we spend a great deal of time practising POPO drills and I was deployed on two occasions on such duties.

I can re-collect vividly some of the key principles of POPO (I may have missed out a few):

1. Minimum Force. Simply put, you don’t use a sledgehammer to kill a fly;

2. Warnings. Give ample three warnings to the crowd to disperse otherwise force will be taken;

3. Identify the ringleaders. We go after the ringleaders to restore public order;

4. Dispersal avenue. Ensure the incident location has avenues for the protesters to disperse;

5. Render Assistance. Assistance is to be given to the injured when the situation permits;

6. Unity in purpose. The platoon commander (lieutenant in rank) of 30-odd soldiers makes the hard decision on the ground and ensures his platoon stays intact at all times.

If one analyses the basis of the above principles one can see the human heart of the POPO authors and at the same time, the goal of achieving the mission at hand. The Army or PDRM are there to protect the people and the nation and to be loyal to King and country. These two are noble organisations, We, Army guys, in peacetime train for war and in war we fight. We are always grateful for the hard training we undergo for it has borne us well during live operations.

From the events of Bersih 3.0, the question here that I would like to ask the IGP and powers-that-be:

Are we still talking about the same POPO principles or has the PDRM formulated a new set of POPO principles (and so devoid of the human heart)?

It is my wish that any public inquiries will be guided somewhat by the POPO principles. Let us bring back some good governance.

  1. #1 by sheriff singh on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 - 8:40 pm

    During colonial times, they have practice sessions too. I remember some drills (‘simulation exercise’) where they have warnings like: ‘Disperse, or we will shoot’. There were pictures of these on the internet. See:

  2. #2 by monsterball on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 - 8:55 pm

    I salute this retired Army Officer….participating and speaking out the rules of Public Order.
    It’s all gone.
    It is rules of the jungle from a band of robbers and thieves governing the country….but People Power will throw these rouges out at 13th GE.

  3. #3 by balance88 on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 - 9:58 pm

    You can have the best systems, procedures, equipments and laws in the world but if it is not implemented by the relevant people, it is just the best on paper only. And in Malaysia, we are very good at that.

    MACC was revamped and modelled after the ICAC of Hong Kong, the best anti-corruption unit in the world. But, alas, look what a mess MACC is. At the end of the day, it is HUMANS that must implement and make the systems work.

  4. #4 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 - 10:03 pm

    Which government would bother with POPO when its grip on federal power is under threat?

  5. #5 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 - 10:37 pm

    Umno’s supreme drill.
    1. Deploy max force when directed by umno.
    2. Do not give warning.
    3. Go after everyone because they are anti agung anti sultan anti islam jenis umno anti umno anti umnoputra unpatriotic ungrateful are communist or terrorist for questioning ketuanan rights.
    4. Corner them and trap them in tunnels and from two ends of a lane or road.
    5. Kick any fallen protester. Headlock him till near suffocation then smash his face with helmets.
    6. No unity needed.
    7. After the even expect the protestor to proclaim that umno is kind and good.

  6. #6 by madguyho on Wednesday, 2 May 2012 - 10:43 pm

    Well, I guess the new POPO might sound like this:

    1. Minimum Force – Retaliate with Maximum force even if provoke by minimum force.
    2. Warnings – Yeah! This just a warning, much worst yet to cum.
    3. Identify the ringleaders. – Why bother about the ringleaders? We are the Kingleadear!
    4. Dispersal avenue – Make sure no one escape.
    5. Render Assistance – Render all assistance void and teach them a lesson.
    6. Unity in purpose – You are right. We shoot in unity, we spray in unity and we hit in unity.

  7. #7 by boh-liao on Thursday, 3 May 2012 - 1:23 am

    Under UmnoB/BN, mata2’s POPO is pop, pop, pop, tear gas fired without prior warning, NOT shot up in2 d sky 2 warn but straight in2 helpless, unarmed, peaceful rakyat, with d EVIL intent 2 HARM, INJURE, MAIM or even KILL rakyat, old n young

    200,000 or more rakyat witnessed n suffered fr d EVIL actions of d CRUEL, EVIL, ARROGANT gomen of UmnoB/BN
    EACH of d 200,000 or more rakyat must SPREAD d EVIL actions of UmnoB/BN 2 10 or more rakyat – AMPLIFY d mesej: TERMINATE evil UmnoB/BN in d next GE

  8. #8 by omeqiu on Thursday, 3 May 2012 - 12:42 pm

    I can count people like you without using all my fingers. The question is what can you do now?

  9. #9 by SENGLANG on Thursday, 3 May 2012 - 2:46 pm

    There is no point of talking POPO, SOP they only know KOPI OH.

    If you have minister who defense their boys by saying that seizing the journalist camera is part of the SOP, what else can we say.

    CHANGE THEM do ask for change. No use.

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