Malaysiakini News

Cops should not create imagined enemies in Sri Lanka protests

P Ramasamy  |  Published on  |  Modified on

COMMENT The Malaysian police force is entrusted to ensure the security and well-being of the country. However, such noble objectives should preclude them from creating and sustaining 'imagined' enemies.

Malaysia's political stability is dependent on a variety of factors emanating from the terrorist threats posed by those who are supporting the Islamic State (IS) organisation in the Middle East, those who are plundering the country of its wealth and those who are involved in mega financial scandals and corruption.

However, the security agencies, principally the police, seem more concerned with probable terrorist threats from real and imagined forces. While the threat posed by IS supporters and those who are engaged in this ferocious militant movement are real and stark, however, the police seem to be misguided in stretching their imagination even to include those who have engaged in peaceful protests.

As I have said and repeated many times in the past, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that fought against the inhumane policies of the Sri Lankan government to carve out a separate state for Tamils in the north and east is an outfit of the past.

The civil war in the country between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils that lasted for more than 30 years was finally ended with the crushing defeat of the LTTE in May 2009.

Many of its top leaders were killed in the war, and many were detained and imprisoned. Those who were released after years in prison have mysteriously died. There are allegations that they were poisoned by the Sri Lankan prison authorities while they were in the prisons.

Yes, the LTTE was banned in many countries such as the US, Australia, Britain and India. However, the United Nations, contrary to the statement made by inspector-general of police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar, did not include the LTTE in its banned list.

Where Khalid obtained his information seems unclear. A few days ago I challenged him to show proof that the UN banned the LTTE. He has not replied to my challenge.

Two hands to clap

The recent protests staged by some Tamil groups were basically to ask the Malaysian government to rescind its invitation to Sri Lanka's former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, the person who was in charge of the country's affairs when genocide against Tamils were perpetrated.

He is not the only one responsible, but surely the man has yet to answer serious allegations of war-related crimes to international human rights organisations. Therefore there was nothing wrong for these Tamil groups to organise protests against Rajapaksa and to burn his effigy in front of the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC).

My question to Khalid is simply this: show me the proof that these groups had links to the now defunct LTTE. When such an organisation has ceased to exist for a number of years, how then can Khalid by one stretch of wild imagination give it life and bring it into existence?

Similarly, not too long ago, a number of Tamil refugees were deported to Sri Lanka on the grounds that were members of the LTTE. This was another stretch of the wild and irresponsible imagination of Khalid's.

It was rather unfortunate that some irresponsible persons who had assaulted a Buddhist monk in Sentul and the Sri Lankan High Commissioner at KL International Airport had marred the otherwise peaceful and democratic protests.

However, at the same time, I heard from some reliable sources that had the High Commission refrained from accusing the protesters of being LTTE agents, such an incident would not have happened.

I hope Khalid in his zeal and enthusiasm to throw the police net far and wide to nab "LTTE supporters" should also acknowledge the High Commissioner, despite his diplomatic status, behaved in a rotten manner provoking the protesters.

Do homework

As I have said earlier, Khalid's analysis of the security situation of the country leaves much to be desired.

If the police cannot even arrest and charge those who have siphoned off public money related to 1MDB mega scandal, then what is the point of inventing imagined enemies and looking for them in places where they are not there in the first place? What a shame.

As the nation's top cop, Khalid should also engage in some reading to find out why Tamils and other are engaging in protests. Over the years our government has spent millions of ringgit educating the police force, allowing personnel to enrol for diploma, degree and postgraduate courses.

The whole purpose of education is to ensure that the police force would emerge from such an educational exposure to well manage the security and well being of the country in a responsible and sophisticated manner.

Sorry to say, the Malaysian police under Khalid have much to learn. Certainly money spent on educating the police force is not for creating imagined enemies.

P RAMASAMY is Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang and the state assemblyperson for Perai.

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