Stop the double standard practised by the police and the double-talk demonstrated by the BN government leaders

Press Statement
by Ronnie Liu

(Kuala Lumpur, Monday): Acting PM Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is also the Home Minister, should order the IGP Tan Sri Norian Mai to explain why the KL police had fired tear gas to disperse the peaceful anti-war demonstrators last Saturday. The highhandedness shown by the KL police was shocking and despicable. At that point of time, there were no less than 20 young children among us. If an adult like me could not withstand the sharpness of the gas, one could imagine its effect on the kids.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should also order Norian Mai to lift the blanket ban on anti-war demonstration immediately to be in line with the official anti-war position. To disperse peaceful anti-war demonstrators with tear gas was not only politically incorrect, it has also marred the image of Malaysia in the eyes of the world. Only governments that support the American and British aggression in Iraq would resort to such uncivilised tactics to control anti-war rallies. The world may start to think that the Malaysian government and its police were in essence pro-war!

It was also wrong and insensitive for the UMNO Youth chief Datuk Hishamuddin Hussien to organise a separate anti-war rally at the same time on the same day, knowing very well before hand that the Coalition Against Iraqi War has planned for one in KLCC. Hishamuddin's action was not only seen as a sabotage to the Coalition Against Iraqi War led by the opposition parties and NGOs, he has also unwittingly telling the whole world that the Malaysians are divided on the anti-war effort. To a certain extent, Hishamuddin's action has also nullified the earlier joint efforts demonstrated by the opposition and the ruling parties in the Parliament on 2003-03-23 as well as the joint memorandum presented to the American Ambassador the next day.

This was not the first time that Hishamuddin has failed to demonstrate his leadership in the anti-war campaign. While the Coalition Against Iraqi War has held a demonstration outside the American Embassy in Kuala Lumpur besides submitting a memorandum to its Ambassador Mrs Huttala shortly after the proclamation of ultimatum to Iraq, Malaysians for Peace under the leadership of Hishamuddin did not want to do a thing until Last Saturday. So much for his talk on bringing Bush and Blair to the international court. And so much for sincerity and seriousness in the chanting of "Give Peace A Chance"!


* Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew, DAP National Publicity Secretary