The police are more than capable of making sure that Bersih 3.0 runs smoothly this Saturday, says the Bar Council president.
This was a message by Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee to the authorities, particularly the police and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).
“The Bar calls on the police to permit all walks and public assemblies, and the activities leading up to them, to take place peacefully and with minimal intrusion and disruption.
“…while ensuring public order and protecting the safety of all participants,” he said in a press statement.
Extending the offer of cooperation to DBKL, Lim said the police had in the past four months, proven itself over matters of crowd control.
With this as an example, he said it was possible for the police and Bersih’s organisers to work together so that citizens could meet and assemble peacefully.
“This occurs regularly in more mature democracies, and it has happened in Malaysia,” he said.
He then warned the government that if it ignored the “wishes and resolve of the people”, it was doing so at its own peril.
Both the police and the government reacted strongly against the Bersih 2.0 organisers and supporters last year, even before the protesters took to the streets.
The government declared Bersih illegal, arrested many supporters and even warned Malaysians against wearing yellow – Bersih’s official colour – T-shirts.
On July 9 itself, the day of the protests, police locked down Kuala Lumpur and barred Bersih leaders and opposition MPs from entering the capital city.
The police were also out in full force that day, and fired water-cannons and tear gas at the combined crowds of 15,000 protesters. More than 1,700 people were also arrested.
The heavy-handed crackdown however reflected badly on the government, who was then accused of overreacting.
It would then spend many months explaining itself over the crackdown, before coming up with a series of reforms, which included the Internal Security Act’s (ISA) repealing and the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms.
In preparation for Saturday, Lim said that the Bar would send a team to monitor the day’s events.
He added that the Bar’s Legal Aid Centre had a team to provide legal assistance if any arrests were to occur.
The team would be led by:
-Rajesweri Paramasevam (012-275 1660)
-Lim Chi Chau (016-228 8142)
-Adora Yusof (019-317 8347)