Police chief: Why sing the national anthem?

Posted by Penarik Beca Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Star (12/11/08): The state police chief has questioned the rationale behind Internal Security Act (ISA) protesters singing the national anthem at their illegal gathering near the Amcorp Mall on Sunday.

“Are they expecting policemen to stand at attention each time they sing the anthem? If so, what would happen if every criminal that we confront starts singing the national anthem?” asked Deputy Comm Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar.

He questioned whether the protesters sang NegaraKu to keep the police at bay or that they (the protesters) themselves did not respect the anthem.

Protesters against the ISA were said to have sung NegaraKu at least three times at three different locations on Sunday – at the mall, Petaling Jaya Civic Centre, as well as near the police station.

“I, more than anyone else present, and that too as a police officer, respect the national anthem, contrary to allegations that we showed no respect by dispersing the crowd when they were singing the anthem,’’ he said.

DCP Khalid said that when police moved in, he did not and could not hear them singing the national anthem as he was some distance away.

He said he was informed by his officers that the crowd sang the national anthem at three different locations before being dispersed.

“I am duty-bound to carry out my job without fear or favour, and my interest was the safety and concern of the general public as well as business outlets which had voiced concern over possible trouble there.

“Nobody can deny that someone could have taken advantage of the situation to stir up trouble there,’’ he said, adding that no permit was sought for the gatherings which had been taking place for the past four weeks.

Police arrested 23 people, including Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua and assemblymen Lau Weng San and Ronnie Liu, for taking part in the candlelight vigil.

They were arrested under Section 27 of the Police Act for allegedly taking part in an illegal assembly after several warnings to disperse were ignored.

The vigil, organised by the Coali­tion for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih), started at 8pm at Dataran PJ, near Amcorp Mall.

However, the group, numbering in the hundreds, moved to the civic centre near MBPJ when police ordered them to disperse.

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