He ticks off police for saying that the choice of a school as venue for the weekend debate violates the Peaceful Assembly Act.
KUALA LUMPUR: A defiant Nazri Aziz today slammed the police’s refusal to allow a debate featuring him and Dr Mahathir Mohamad, saying the Saturday event in Kuala Kangsar would go ahead despite not getting a police permit.
“Since when did Malaysia become a police state? Since when could anyone be denied their rights when they have done nothing wrong? I am saddened and disturbed,” the Padang Rengas MP told reporters at the Parliament lobby, hours after police said they would not grant organisers a permit for the programme.
Acting Perak police chief Hasnan Hassan said an application from Kumpulan Media Karangkraf, publisher of Malay daily Sinar Harian which is organising the debate, was received late.
He also said the event’s venue was in violation of the Peaceful Assembly Act which prohibits the use of school premises.
But Nazri said the debate programme was not a rally, and that it was no different from Mahathir’s recent meet-the-people session in Terengganu.
The debate between Nazri, who is also a member of the Umno Supreme Council, and Mahathir who chairs Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) is scheduled to be held at Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) in Kuala Kangsar on March 25.
Nazri said there was no reason for police to question the venue as the Mara chairman had already given him the greenlight to use the school’s hall.
The former de-facto law minister said both he and Mahathir were not out to provoke the public.
“Am I a communist or terrorist? I am a minister and Tun M is the former PM. What sort of untoward incident can take place?” he asked.
“He is my former boss and he is older than me. I want to assure the police that I won’t even raise my voice.”
He assured police that the event would be peaceful, and said this was also why he had urged Umno supporters not to attend the programme.
The debate came about after Mahathir challenged Nazri to a debate on political and economic matters affecting the nation, particularly on 1MDB, the Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal and the deposit of RM2.6 billion into Prime Minister Najib Razak’s bank account.
Nazri accepted the challenge, and said he would host it in his parliamentary constituency of Padang Rengas.