Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Perak assembly: Police behaviour illegal, unacceptable - Malaysiakini

By Tan Sri Ramon V Navaratnam | May 11, 09 3:55pm

We refer to the Malaysiakini report on Sivakumar dragged out, BN speaker takes over.

The Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) is deeply troubled by the manner in which proceedings were held in the Perak state assembly.

The shouting matches and ensuing scuffles as well as the removal by force of the speaker were most regrettable. It painted a very poor image of Malaysia at home and on the international stage.

Even more troubling was the conduct of the police in this matter. The police’ presence inside the assembly, whilst arrogating the powers of the speaker and employing force to remove him from the assembly is unacceptable and illegal.

Furthermore, the harassment and mass arrests of protesters was a violation of human rights, specifically the freedom of expression, which is guaranteed in our constitution.

The CPPS urges the police to exercise greater restraint when facing dissent and to respect the principles of human rights and our federal constitution as well as the rule of law, which form the very principles of democracy promoted by our founding fathers.

The CPPS further notes that the current crisis in the state of Perak has gone for far too long.

It has created much restlessness, resentment, displeasure and great uncertainty amongst the rakyat.

The CPPS believes that it is time to go back to the polls and allow the 'rakyat', whom governments ultimately serve, to elect their leadership in a free and fair election.

Only through fresh elections can we hope to move forward from this current stalemate and focus on the many socio-economic and political challenges facing our country today.

This is important not only for Perakians but all Malaysians as the future of our democracy is at stake.

Tan Sri Ramon V Navaratnam is chairperson, Centre for Public Policy Studies

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