(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): On Sunday, a Sympathy, Support and Solidarity with Lim Guan Eng forum scheduled to be held at PAS Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, with panellists including the PAS MP for Kubang Krian, Mohamad Sabu, DAP Deputy Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng, SUARAM co-ordinator, Sivarasah Rasiah, was not allowed by the police for lack of a police permit.
This is the sixth public meeting to be disallowed or disrupted by the police in the past two weeks on the grounds of "security" when there was no threat to security whatsoever.
Last night, a forum on social ills plaguing teenagers chaired by Lim Guan Eng and held at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall was ringed by an excessive police presence, as if a discussion by some 70-80 people could provoke a breach of the peace and pose a grave threat to the security of the nation.
We must ask the police whether they really do not have better things to do to deal with the grave problems of illegal immigrants, drug menace and rising incidence of crime than to regard peaceful gathering of Malaysians to discuss social and national issues as potential enemies and rioters in the country requiring excessive police show of force?
The political atmosphere in the country is becoming more and more unhealthy and menacing although there is no deterioration in the security situation.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad should give a clear-cut public assurance that he is not planning a Second Operation Lalang for a major crackdown on civil liberties with major detentions under the Internal Security Act.
It would be a tragedy to Malaysia if a Second Operation Lalang is the Prime Ministerís final answer to the worsening economic crisis and deepening political problems he is facing in the country.