Updated 7:40pm, 30 July 2009
KUALA TERENGGANU, 30 July 2009: The Home Ministry today warned that stern action would be taken against those who participate in rallies supporting or opposing the abolition of the Internal Security Act (ISA).
Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the move was in line with the ministry’s objective to prevent the issue from having a negative impact on the security and interest of the country.
“If they violate the law, stern action will be taken against them, no matter if they are pro- or contra-ISA.
“I will not compromise on this until the security and interest of the country are assured,” he told reporters after presenting special contributions to ex-police officers who had served during the Emergency (1948-1962), here today.
Hishammuddin was commenting on the Pembela Negara Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations Council (Magaran)’s ultimatum, giving Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) until 5pm to cancel a rally scheduled for Saturday called “100,000 People’s Gathering” in Kuala Lumpur.
GMI planned to gather at various locations, including Masjid Jamek, in front of the Sogo shopping complex on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, and the National Mosque, before marching to Istana Negara to press for the ISA to be abolished.
Another group led by Majlis Permuafakatan Ummah (Perwaris), Perkasa and like-minded organisations that are against the abolishment of the Act also planned to gather at Padang Merbok, Pasar Seni (Central Market), and the National Mosque on the same day in support of the ISA.
Magaran, which comprises 56 NGOs with over 100,000 members, had said if GMI persisted with its plan, it would not hesitate to organise its own rally to send a memorandum supporting the ISA to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the same day.
Hishammuddin said he had informed Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan to take stern action against those participating in either rally supporting or opposing the ISA.
“I have also instructed the Kuala Lumpur police chief, Datuk Muhammad Sabtu Osman, to closely monitor the rallies,” he said.
The public was also advised not to take part in the rallies as the government had earlier agreed to review and scrutinise the ISA, he said.
Incitement and provocation
In KUALA LUMPUR, police have expressed concern over elements of incitement and provocation inherent in the ISA-related rallies.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said if the gatherings were allowed to go ahead, police were concerned they might cause tension among the participants and uneasiness to the public.
“Although the organisers have said the gatherings and marches would be peaceful, they may still threaten public order,” he said in a statement here today.
Ismail said police had not received any application from the two groups to hold the mass gatherings and marches, and they would be breaking the law if they held them without a police permit.
He advised the organisers to abort their plans, and the public not to take part in such gatherings or processions.
“These will have a negative impact on other members of the public, tourists and the business community, besides causing traffic congestion,” Ismail said. — Bernama