Stop this barbarity and brutality

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Aliran is appalled at the determined effort by the police to crush today’s peaceful march to the palace to submit a memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong calling for the abolition of the much abused draconian law, the infamous Internal Security Act.

Thousands of concerned and caring Malaysians have undertaken this march out of a patriotic duty to highlight their revulsion for the ISA, which has gained notoriety as a result of the mindless use of this law by the Barisan Nasional to suppress and oppress the legitimate rights and aspirations of the citizens of this beloved nation.

This march was not undertaken to cause chaos or disrupt public order. It was meant to be an orderly march to the palace which would have ended peacefully after the submission of the memorandum.

Why then is so much effort being put to violently disrupt the march and disperse the crowd?

The BN does not want the rest of the nation to know how dissatisfied and disgusted the people are getting with the BN government, which is fast losing its credibility and moral authority to remain in power. It is a typical reaction from an authority that is not capable of debating and discussing this issue rationally and sensibly. It only knows the rough tactics of barbarity and brutality that are alien to good governance.

If so much power and the apparatus of oppression can be marshalled to confront and crush a peaceful march, the question arises, why then can’t the same effort and enthusiasm be mounted to meet the challenge of street crime? The crime rate in the country is, according to many, escalating and getting out of control. Corruption is perceived to be pervasive and invasive in the bureaucratic affairs of the nation. All this needs immediate and determined effort to arrest the malaise. But we are not succeeding in this.

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The police should allow the right to peaceful assembly and permit democratic space for people to express their legitimate grievances.

Aliran calls upon the Prime Minister to order the police to release all those who have been detained arbitrarily today. He must recognise that Malaysians have certain inalienable rights that must be protected and honoured.

P Ramakrishnan
President
1 August 2009

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