KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 03, 2007): Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin said street protests should not be held as they will stir up uneasiness among the people and harm racial unity in the country.
He told Bernama yesterday that street rallies, regardless of what reasons were given, should not be permitted.
He was commenting on the Bar Council’s plan to organise a “People’s Freedom Walk” on Dec 9 in conjunction with World Human Rights Day on Dec 10.
According to news reports, Bar Council chairwoman Ambiga Sreneevasan had said they had met the police on Friday to discuss how best to organise the Human Rights Day march.
She said it would be a peaceful march and part of the Festival of Rights to commemorate Human Rights Day.
In the Bernama report, Zainuddin questioned the Bar Council’s real motive to organise the walk, which according to him was “only a front under the guise of human rights”.
“Any form of street rallies for whatever reasons should not be allowed now as they will only tarnish the nation’s image in the eyes of the international community.
“I believe the Bar Council’s intention to hold the ‘People’s Freedom Walk’ is to condemn the government under the guise of human rights,” he said.
“Solutions cannot be found to human rights issues merely by staging street protests. Moreover, such protests will only worsen the current situation in the country,” he added.
Zainuddin said the two street rallies held in Kuala Lumpur last month – organised by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections and the Hindu Rights Action Force – had only created adverse effects and aroused the people’s anger.
He also criticised theSun for publishing a report on the “Walk”, saying the report promoted the event and that the daily was not bothered about racial unity.
The report on Nov 29 quoted the Bar Council’s human rights committee chairman Edmund Bon, who provided details on the time and venue to gather for the walk and encouraged the people to bring along banners on human rights issues.
Street protests will only harm racial unity, says Zainuddin