Call on Police
to remove unreasonable restrictions on the Kit Siang-Nazri public debate on
ISA which have nothing to do maintaining law and order, such as not
allowing Q & A, display of party symbol or collecting donations
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): I welcome the issue of the police permit for the Kit Siang-Nazri public debate on “ISA – Yes or No?” at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Kuala Lumpur on Monday 26th July 2004 at 8.30 p.m, by the Dang Wangi OCPD ACP Hadi Ho bin Abdullah.
However, the police should remove unreasonable restrictions on the public debate on the ISA which have nothing to do with maintaining security, law and order, such as disallowing a Question-and-Answer hour proposed by the organizer, or the following two other conditions:
Is the Police seriously suggesting that a grave security and law-and-order situation will arise if there is a Question-and-Answer session during the Public Debate or if party symbols representing the two speakers in the debate are displayed or if donations are collected at the venue to defray the expenses for organizing the public debate running into several thousand ringgit?
If the Police are so wary about Malaysians as to fear that an oral Question and Answer session would degenerate into public disorder, why is it also fearful of a Question-and-Answer Session based on written questions from the audience?
If the Police cannot give good and satisfactory reasons for imposing restrictions on a question-and-answer session, the display of party symbols representing the main speakers and the collection of donations connected with the maintenance of security, law and order, then it should withdraw these restrictions.
Yesterday, I attended a luncheon talk by Tan Sri Ghazalie Shafie, who was formerly Home Minister as well as Foreign Minister, who spoke of his role in drafting the Rukunegara. He lamented that the five Rukunegara objectives and principles had not been followed in the past few decades.
The Police should set an example of upholding the Rukunegara objectives, one of which dedicated the nation “to maintaining a democratic way of life”.
The Rukunegara objective of “maintaining a democratic way of life” should infuse all police decisions and actions, including the issue of the police permit for the ISA public debate.
I call on the Police to remove restrictions on the police permit for the ISA public debate which are completely unrelated to public order and security, as they would then be going against the very spirit and objective of the Rukunegara dedicating the nation to “maintaining a democratic way of life”.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader,
Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor & DAP National Chairman