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Kit Siang: Cops need to show fairness with those who threatened Dong Zong gathering

Published:  |  Modified:

  • Updated with Tebing Tinggi assemblyperson Abdul Aziz Bari's comment

DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang said police now have a greater responsibility to also act against those who have threatened a closed-door meeting on the implementation of three-pages of Jawi lessons in the Year Four Bahasa Malaysia syllabus.

Police had obtained an injunction against the gathering organised by the United Chinese School Committees' Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) which is opposed to the implementation on the grounds that it could cause unrest.

"Police have now a greater responsibility to show they are evenhanded and take action against those who had completely without cause threatened unrest over the closed-door Dong Zong meeting," Lim said in a statement today.

Several Malay groups had threatened to confront the Dong Zong gathering if it proceeded. They included Angkatan Gerak Minda Malaysia (Agra) led by Bersatu Youth exco member Mohd Ashraf Mustaqim Badrul Munir.

"The police should not have banned the Dong Zong closed-door meeting over the Jawi issue in Chinese and Tamil primary schools although the police were under intense pressure because of irresponsible and incendiary threats by extremist quarters.

"As I have said earlier, while Vision 2020 will not be achieved next year which will begin in four days’ time, let more and more Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region, try to be 'Bangsa Malaysia' and resolve the crisis over the Jawi issue in a peaceful and consensual Malaysian manner," he said.

DAP's Tebing Tinggi assemblyperson Abdul Aziz Bari (above) said the Harapan government should not adopt the same approach as BN.

The right to assemble peacefully as enshrined under the constitution, which is the highest law of the land, would be meaningless if a magistrate could issue an order to deny it (Dong Zong's gathering), he said.

"I think it’s wrong and the police should at least go to the High Court. The attorney-general should rectify the matter," he told Malaysiakini.

He added that all laws that restrict freedom of speech, assembly and association under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution should be reviewed and repealed.

Meanwhile, Deputy Penang Chief Minister (II) P Ramasamy said the Kajang police's move to obtain a court order against the Dong Zong gathering on the grounds of racial tension was "regrettable".

"This is a kind of over-imaginative enterprise without any real basis but brought about by the Malay right groups who threatened that if the Chinese congress proceeded, there might be chaos in the country.

"The police, rather than taking action against the perpetrators of false and hate news, took the easy way out by seeking a court order to cancel the congress," he said in a statement.

"Really, nothing would have happened if the indoor congress had taken place. There was nothing racial or incendiary about the proposed congress. It was all about discussing the introduction of Jawi script in vernacular schools, the role of the parent-teacher associations, the school boards and other issues."

Ramasamy (above) noted that the ban happened under the Pakatan Harapan government which had promised openness and freedom.

He also blamed Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad for casting aspersions on the gathering.

"The Dong Zong congress on Jawi script would not have gathered so much opposition if the prime minister had not cast negative aspersions," he said. 

"His remark that the Chinese congress might give rise to serious opposition amongst the Malays could have possibly emboldened the Malay right-wing groups to launch their racist attacks against Dong Zong.

"In these attacks, some of them went too far by invoking the repeat of the racial riots of May 13, 1969.

"I am not saying that police should not have sought a court ban, but they should have studied the matter further before they pressed the panic button." 

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