Saturday 13 August 2011

Umno leader: Bersih rally not like London riots

Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah appeared to have distanced himself from the government's stand that the Bersh 2.0 rally could have turned into a riot as seen in London early this week.

NONE“I don't agree with illegal demonstrations, but I don't disagree with Bersih's demands and I do not agree with Bersih being compared to the London riots,” he told about 100 people at a forum this morning.

According to Saifuddin, the government has failed to respond to Bersih's plan to march on July 9 by considering the possibility of a peaceful assembly as proposed by the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam).

“We could have discussed Suhakam's suggestion on how to hold a peaceful assembly,” he said at the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia forum on electoral reform on democracy in Kajang.

He added that “some people” should not be “allergic” to the word “demonstration” as they would find that “even they conduct demonstrations and call it something else”.

PM: Clampdown on Bersih justified

However, Saifuddin argued that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had always intended to allow the rally to take place in a stadium.

“But it didn't happen. And I won't comment beyond that,” he said.

NONEYesterday Najib, after chairing the BN supreme council meeting, said the coalition's leadership had unanimously agreed that the London riots show that the government's action to clamp down on Bersih 2.0 was justified.

He added that the authorities in the UK, too, had not anticipated that such chaos would break out.

The premier also stressed that the offer of a “stadium in Shah Alam” was never rescinded.

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