The CRC also censures the police for abusing its power by setting up roadblocks to obstruct the HINDRAF rally. The roadblocks set up in 12 districts and municipalities in SElangor have resulted in massive traffic jams in Kuala Lumpur. Such highly irresponsible acts both disturb daily lives of ordinary citizens and obstruct economic activities in the capital city.

Holding also the portfolios of Internal Security and Finance, Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Abdullah Badawi must stop all the repressive measures. The Government must pay attention to the grievance which has led the Indian community to take it to the streets. Chronically marginalized by the government in all fields, political, economical, cultural and educational, Indian Malaysians’ sense of deprivation and alienation deepens in recent years with the systemic demolition of Hindu temples nationwide.

The ruling coalition must respect the constitutional rights of the citizens. Suppression will only lead to more discontents. The long list of scandals tainting institutions from the police, the judiciary to the elections suggested severe flaws in the political system. This may turn into a serious crisis of confidence for the government if it does not embark on substantial reforms but instead suppress public expression of discontents.

The police have acted very irresponsibly and unprofessionally by paralyzing the traffics in the nation’s capital city and financial centre. Driven by political consideration rather than public interest, this is the second time the police has resorted to such “lockdown” tactics to obstruct citizens’ peaceful assembly. Two weeks ago, the police even had its helicopters patrolling the sky besides roadblocks to create a fearful atmosphere trying to stop the 50,000-strong BERSIH rally but in vain.

The various repressive measures by the government to stop peaceful assemblies so far have seriously damaged Malaysia’s international image. The government must not repeat this mistake not least to avoid a disservice to the Visit Malaysia Year 2007.

Mr. Ser Choon Ing , Chairman of Civil Rights Committee of The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (CRC-KLSCAH)

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