Yoges Palaniappan | Dec 11, 07 8:10pm
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohd Nazri Aziz defended the police’s decision to arrest politicians and activists in the Parliament building this morning.
Speaking to reporters at the parliament lobby, he said it is within the rights of the police to ensure security and detain people who breach the rules.
“Maybe these people (who were arrested) were the people whom the police thought should not be allowed access (to parliament),” he said, adding that a resolution had been passed that only MPs are allowed free access into parliament while others had to seek permission.
Asked why the police did not wait for them to exit the parliament building before arresting them, he said an arrest can be made anywhere in parliament except in the Dewan.
The minister, who oversees legal and parliamentary affairs, said that if members of the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih) had informed him of their intention to visit parliament, he would have considered the request.
“If they had informed me of their intention and I feel that it’s ok and that there won’t be any security problems, I would have allowed them.”
“They didn’t contact me. If they had I would have had allowed them. You know how liberal I am,” he said, adding that he was not aware if Bersih had sought permission from parliament.
Meanwhile, Nazri also defended the heavy police at Parliament today.
He said previous illegal demonstrations have shown that people are capable of disrupting public order.
Asked if there is a law and order situation in the country, he answered in the affirmative.
“That’s why some people are being taken to the court. How can we ever condone (demonstrations). Look at the tendencies of these people, the tendency to disrupt public order is there. We had three illegal demonstrations and look at the outcome. You must be blind to think that we will actually have a peaceful walk,” he said.
“I have no confidence that they want to have a genuine peaceful gathering. I have to use my knowledge of their background to ensure that no permit is given.
“I don’t want to be blamed after there are casualties. I have to answer, the government has to answer,” he added.
Nazri defends police's action