Cabinet should demand explanation from IGP and censure the police for refusing to grant a permit for the AWAM anti-rape and anti-violence rally and march scheduled for the Bangsar Shopping Complex today and the subsequent change to a Mid-Valley Exhibition Centre gathering
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): The Cabinet on Wednesday should demand an explanation from the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Norian Mai and censure the police for refusing to grant a permit for the AWAM anti-rape and anti-violence rally and march scheduled for the Bangsar Shopping Complex today and the subsequent change to a gathering at Mid-Valley Exhibition Centre.
It is a crying shame for Malaysia that hundreds of thousands of people in Hong Kong could gather thrice this month, with half a million people for the largest gathering on July 1, to protest against the hastily proposed anti-subversion legislation and the slow pace of democratic reform but Malaysian women and men are not allowed to gather and march to protest against rape and the rising crime and fear of crime in the country to demand the restoration of their fundamental right to live without fear of crime whether at home, in the streets or public spaces.
The Cabinet should haul up the police for its myopic, unimaginative and hide-bound bureaucratic mentality which regards every public gathering not held under the auspices of the government as a threat to public peace, law and order, when it should have realized that the AWAM anti-rape/violence rally and march is not targetted against the government or the police but against criminals and potential criminals by generating anti-rape and anti-crime public awareness to a critical mass to enable sustained and effective crime prevention, detection and conviction measures to be taken.
The Cabinet on Wednesday should issue a clear directive to the police not only to issue permits but to actively encourage and support the holding of citizen/community protest gatherings/rallies/marches up and down the country against the double rise of crime rate and fear of crime. Cabinet Ministers, regardless of gender, should speak up for the right to community protests against rising crime and fear of crime.
The Police should in fact set up a special unit to liaise, co-operate and encourage civic activities such as the aborted AWAM programme to raise greater public consciousness, awareness and demand for an effective war against crime.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman