“We cannot stop them if they want to congregate in mosques.”
PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, saying the government could not stop people from protesting the 31 Dec 2009 High Court decision that lifted the ban on Catholic paper Herald from using “Allah” to refer to God. (Source: Najib: We can’t stop people from protesting, Malaysiakini, 7 Jan 2010)
“This is not reasonable. It’s prayer time and this action is a breach of our religious freedom and duty.”
PAS Member of Parliament Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud, on arrests of people attempting to enter the national mosque just before a 1 Aug 2009 demonstration against the Internal Security Act (ISA). Some who had managed to enter the mosque joined the protest after Friday prayers but were confronted by tear gas and water cannons. (Source: Tear gas, water cannons unleashed on Malaysian protesters, ABC News, 1 Aug 2009)
“We just wanted to disperse them, so we used water cannon and tear gas to do that.”
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar, speaking to reporters after the 1 Aug 2009 anti-ISA demonstration. Reports estimated that there were about 10,000 protesters and 5,000 police present at the demonstration. (Source: Tear gas, water cannons unleashed on Malaysian protesters, ABC News, 1 Aug 2009)
“We will keep on arresting until we can shut down this demonstration.”
“I regard this [demonstration] as being politically motivated, there is no benefit we can derive from a demonstration like this.”
Najib, on the anti-ISA rally. (Source: Hundreds arrested in Malaysia protest, Reuters, 1 Aug 2009)
“Why have a demonstration when we are in the process of discussions and getting feedback from the people?
“Demonstrations cannot solve matters being considered by the government, but some are planning to do so to fit their political agenda.”
“What is important is to give opinions, suggestions and productive ideas on how best to improve such laws instead of protesting.
“If the protest still continues, then it is up to the police to take the necessary action.”
Further comments from Najib on the anti-ISA rally. (Source: PM: ISA protests will not benefit anyone, The Star, 1 Aug 2009)
“But what is the use if such demonstrations only lead to the possibility of ruining what we have built for the country?”
Najib, on the November 2007 Bersih rally calling for free and fair elections. He said Malaysians should not go to the streets to voice their dissent, as street demonstrations were not part of Malaysian culture. (Source: DPM: Hard to douse racial fire, The Star, 12 Nov 2007)
“I argued that it was not an illegal assembly as we were all just trying to cycle. But the police said that they received specific instructions to arrest us.
“The police told us not to cycle in Skudai. They said even if one person cycles in Skudai, he or she would be arrested.”
Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (Jerit) co-ordinator Y Kohila, recounting how the police barred 32 people from leaving Suaram’s Skudai office. Jerit had organised a cycling campaign to highlight issues such as food shortage, environmental problems, draconian laws and the financial crisis. Sixteen activists were arrested by Johor police and questioned before being released. (Source: 16 Jerit cyclists arrested in Johor, Malaysiakini, 6 Dec 2008)
“It was a peaceful march. They shot without any warning.”
Hatta Ramli, as quoted by AFP, on police firing tear gas at demonstrators. Hatta was among those protesting against the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English schools, and was marching from the mosque to the palace to present a memorandum. Police said they had “no choice” but to fire tear gas to disperse the crowd. (Source: Police break up Malaysia protest, BBC News, 7 March 2009)
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