(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): The Sun reported today that the police has rejected the proposed mammoth anti-toll protest public rally initiated by the Coalition Against Toll (CAT) to be organised at the Bukit Jalil Stadium next Friday (Feb. 26).
It quoted the Cheras police chief ACP Ali Hanafiah as saying that the stadium management had rejected the application to use the venue because of renovation works. Therefore, the police permit for holding the rally will also be withheld.
I want to protest in the strongest terms possible at the police rejection of the anti-toll protest public rally and the rejection of the stadium management for the use of Bukit Jalil Stadium after receiving the RM2,500 deposit paid a week ago.
It reminds me of what happened in the 1995 general elections in Penang when the Penang Island Municipal Council suddenly decided to undertake major works on the Esplanade after the DAP had applied for a permit to hold a public rally there.
This is a clear example of the instruments of government being involved in a conspiracy to frustrate the Opposition, the NGOs and the people from exercising their fundamental liberties and democratic freedoms.
Why should the authorities be afraid of a peaceful and orderly anti-toll protest public rally at Bukit Jalil Stadium, where I expect 20,000 to 30,000 people from all over the country to attend to send a clear and unmistakable message to the government of the people’s opposition to unfair highway privatisation, unfair highway toll and unfair highway toll increases.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said in Sabah a few days that there was no reason for Malaysians to be ashamed of the system of justice in the country as it was comparable to the best in the West.
In actual fact, the system of justice in Malaysia has lost the confidence of Malaysia, as there are not only unjust laws and regulations, there is also uneven and unjust application of the laws.
The refusal of the authorities to allow CAT to hold a mammoth anti-toll protest public rally at Bukit Jalil Stadium on February 26 is one good example, especially as a day earlier, the MCA would be holding a 12,000-strong 50th anniversary dinner at Bukit Jalil Stadium.
The Coalition Against Toll will not be deterred in our campaign to organise public support to demand a full review and renegotiation of highway privatisation concessions, the requirement for all highway contracts to be made public, and a freeze on highway toll rate increases scheduled to begin from March 1 until the completion of the review of highway privatisation.
As an alternative to the anti-toll protest public rally at Bukit Jalil Stadium, an anti-toll protest meeting is now being organised at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on Monday, March 1, 1999, and I hope the police will give full co-operation.
Tomorrow, the fourth nation-wide toll plazas protest will continue in various parts of the country. For the Klang Valley, the focus will be on the protests at the Gombak toll plaza at 9 a.m. and Jalan Pahang toll plaza at 10.30 a.m.
The CAT, which is scheduled to meet tomorrow at 3 p.m., will now meet in Petaling Jaya on Monday at 8 p.m. to review the progress of the campaign against unfair highway privatisation and unfair tolls.