Bersih 5 a no-go if no notice, IGP warns

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KUALA LUMPUR: Police will not allow the Bersih 5 rally on November 19 unless the organisers send a notice on their scheduled gathering.

Speaking to reporters this morning, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said he is “fed up” of reminding the steering committee to submit the notice “everyday”, and yet, “they don’t want to listen”.

According to Khalid, the Red Shirts, who are conducting a counter rally to Bersih 5, submitted a notice for their gathering two days ago.

“There is a process. They (Bersih) must get ‘tuan punya kebenaran, tuan punya tempat (consent of the owner)…they must obey the law and at least, give notice.”

Khalid said although the Peaceful Assembly Act allowed gatherings to take place and for the people to assemble to protest, laws must be followed.

Asked whether Bersih 5 will be allowed to proceed, Khalid said : “Not because they didn’t give any notice.”

“We will take action. Wait…slowly, we will take action. It’s normal,” he said, adding that prior notice is needed to enable police to make preparations in case an untoward incident erupts.

“If they don’t give notice and suddenly appear in Chow Kit and other streets, how can we send our men there?

“Then, they will blame us for not placing police to take care of order. Both sides always do this (place the blame on cops),” Khalid told reporters after attending a graduation ceremony for modern policing participants at the city police headquarters today.

Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah said she will respond to Khalid’s remarks in a press conference later this afternoon.

In July, Khalid had given the green light for Bersih 5, provided the participants do not call for the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Razak.

However, he had asked the organisers, as well as the Red Shirts, to notify police so they could plan accordingly.