DAP says the Home Minister should release all 73 hours of video available to him if he truly wants the people to judge for themselves what actually happened on April 28.
Party strongman Lim Kit Siang issued the challenge in reaction to reports that the Home Ministry would release an edited clip on its website. Initial reports said the clip would be posted today, but ministry sources subsequently said the upload has been postponed to a date to be announced this afternoon.
The ministry is most likely to get its footage from the police. The panel appointed by the government to investigate violence at the rally disclosed on Monday that police were in possession of 43 video clips with a total running time of 73 hours.
“If Hishammuddin is prepared to let the public draw their own conclusions on what happened at the Bersih rally,” Lim told a press conference here, “is he prepared to upload all the 73 hours of the video clips?”
He accused the Home Minister of engaging in a “video war to support the government’s conspiracy theory” and to vilify the rally, which he described as a “great historic event”.
He said Hishammuddin’s “priority duty” as Home Minister “is not to be accuser, judge, jury and executioner all in one” but to give his full support to independent efforts to determine the truth of what happened on April 28, such as the inquiry by Suhakam.
“He should rise above it all, unless he is not interested in the truth. Looks like he has made up his mind.”
Referring to the government-appointed investigative panel, which is headed by former IGP Hanif Omar, Lim said it should be dissolved now that two of its proposed members have withdrawn. The two are former chief justice of Borneo Steve Shim Lip Kiong and Petronas corporate affairs senior general manager Medan Abdullah.
He expressed a suspicion that the Hanif panel’s “real objective” was to “produce a finding to match the government’s script”.
Lim, who is the MP for Ipoh Timur, called upon Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to provide a progress report in Parliament on Monday on Bersih’s eight demands, on the progress over the 22 recommendations made by the parliamentary select committee for electoral reform and the additional four recommendation made in the subsequent minority report.
DAP’s own video
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DAP today released its own video of the April 28 events. The edited video, which lasts for about 15 minutes, starts with scenes of protesters in a festive mood, holding up banners, chanting “Bersih!” and clearing rubbish from the streets. There is also a scene of Bersih leader S Ambiga asking the crowd to disperse.
“Just as Ambiga asked the crowd to disperse, the ruling government started acting violent,” says the voiceover above clips of police firing tear gas and water cannon into the crowd.
The video also juxtaposes statements by Najib and Hishammuddin against happenings on the ground that appear to contradict them. For example, a scene of Hishammuddin speaking in praise of police professionalism is followed by scenes of policemen beating up protestors and journalists.
The DAP video did not show images of protesters breaching the barricade around Dataran Merdeka.
Asked why this was so, DAP publicity chief Tony Pua said the that incident was subject to debate.
“We don’t know what happened,” he said. Referring to clips available on pro-BN websites, he said: “You have clips of Anwar Ibrahim and Azmin Ali instructing the crowd to breach the barrier, but anyone looking at the video can only see both using sign language. Even so, it does not justify the police using any form of violence against protesters who didn’t breach the barrier.”