Najib on why police did not permit gathering

The Star – Sunday November 11, 2007
PEKAN: A certain group of people will always take advantage of a situation such as the illegal assembly at Jalan Tun Perak in Kuala Lumpur, causing chaos and disturbing the peace, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

It was for that very reason that police did not allow the gathering to be held in the first place, he added.
“I was made to understand that a lot of shopkeepers were worried and closed their businesses for the day, fearing the worst if the gathering took place. The gathering also caused problems such as traffic jams.The effect is it mars the general perception others have of our society,” he told reporters after opening the Pusat Anak Permata Negara (Permata) in Felda Chini Timur here yesterday.
Najib also said the group demanded freedom to hold the gathering but the Government had always place importance on peace, stability and public interest.
In Kuala Lumpur, Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin has refuted satellite television station Al Jazeera’s claim that police had used force on the hundreds of protesters.
He told the station that police had tried to disperse the protesters by using water cannons, as the gathering was illegal.
“When they refused to disperse, the police allowed them to march to Istana Negara to hand over a memorandum demanding a clean and fair election.
“The police managed to handle the situation as best they could,” he said over the phone in a live interview by Al Jazeera here.
Asked why Malaysia did not allow such gatherings, Zainuddin said they were unnecessary because general election had been held without fail in this country.
The minister also hit out at Al Jazeera for having the wrong perception when posing questions.
Al Jazeera reporters had their own perceptions about Malaysia before coming here, he said, adding that “Malaysia is not Myanmar or Pakistan; it is a democratic country.”– Bernama