Llew-Ann Phang (The Sun)
KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 16, 2007): The government and the police will apply the law, in line with the rule-of-law principle upheld in the country, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.
Responding to questions on the Coalition for Free and Fair Election (Bersih)’s plans for more rallies, Najib said while people could apply their right for free expression of views, “it is (equally) important to protect the interest of the people at large”.
“The government will apply the law, the police will apply the law. We must be consonant with the principle of rule-of-law in the country. Otherwise, we will slip into anarchy. We must manage for people to have confidence in the government,” said Najib after launching the CIMB Foundation in Carcosa Seri Negara today.
“People must have the sense that (the country) is under control in accordance with the laws of the country and not slip into uncertainty. We do not want anything to deteriorate and become uncontrollable,” he said, adding that Bersih would have to obtain a permit before it can proceed.
To a question if the government would use the Internal Security Act when acting against those involved in the assemblies to come, he said: “I don’t think it will deteriorate to that, hopefully not.”
Najib also appealed to the people to observe the law and uphold its provisions.
Last Saturday (Nov 10), Bersih – comprising 67 non-governmental organisations and four opposition parties, namely PAS, DAP, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and Parti Sosiolis Malaysia (PSM) – held a demonstration attracting hordes of people, calling for electoral reforms.
The crowd gathered at various points in the city before marching to the National Palace to hand over a memorandum to the King.
Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd trying to march from Jalan Tun Perak to Dataran Merdeka for the march.
Thousands successfully gathered at the National Palace where palace officials received Bersih’s memorandum to the King.
On the Election Commission chairman’s statement that he knew when the next general elections would be held, Najib said “I’d like to know. I’d like to ask him”, drawing laughter from the floor.
He declined to respond to a question on Barisan Nasional’s level of preparedness to face the next national polls and when pressed further on the chairman’s statement which the journalist said had “created some excitement,” Najib said: “It can be any date; it does not mean it will be imminent.”
Earlier in his speech, he said the government recognised corporate social responsibility (CSR) as integral, particularly of the role played by government-linked-companies.
“It has been proven that companies that do well in CSR activities are those with high recognition within society.
“In the long run, it helps the companies and they become much more successful because in giving back to society, they get back, their image improves and people are attracted to the organisation,” he added.
Najib’s brother and CIMB Group Chief Executive Datuk Nazir Abdul Razak, in his welcoming speech said CIMB “played to win” referring to the organisation’s honourable mention at the Prime Minister’s CSR Awards on Wednesday (Nov 14).
The audience were in stitches when Najib quipped: “As far as the government is concerned, we just want to win the next general elections.”
Nazir committed RM100 million – from the synergy drive contributions – for the use of CIMB Foundation for over three years.
He later explained that the landmark transaction was more profitable than expected.
“This was also because of the rise in valuation of plantation companies, therefore we decided that the right thing to do is to share it with the foundation (which ties up all our CSR programmes),” said Nazir.
Updated: 06:36PM Fri, 16 Nov 2007
Follow rule-of-law principle: DPM
Llew-Ann Phang (The Sun)