Press Statement from Bersih 2.0 (30 April 2020): Police Need to Be More Restrained Towards Volunteers

Referring to several cases of Members of Parliament (MPs) being investigated by the police on grounds of non-compliance with the Movement Control Order (MCO) while providing food assistance to vulnerable communities, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Election (Bersih 2.0) condemns the actions of some police officers, who unnecessarily show their power to those who are working to provide support to communities who have lost their food supply during this period of the MCO. 

Aid from MPs, state assemblymen, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or any volunteers provided to the vulnerable communities during this Covid-19 pandemic should be welcomed and facilitated by government agencies, and not discouraging them using bureaucratic reasons to stop the aid from reaching the communities.

We understand the duties and responsibilities of the police and other enforcement officers to control the situation so that the Covid-19 pandemic can be controlled. However, if any NGO volunteers, MPs or assemblymen wish to help the vulnerable communities by abiding to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) issued by the Department of Social Welfare (JKM), the police should acknowledge and assist in facilitating the distribution of such aid.

The police need to fully understand the situation at the grassroots level after more than a month of the MCO many are depleted of their supplies or provisions. This is the gap that is filled by NGO volunteers, MPs or assemblymen to help the people in their constituencies so that no one will have to starve.

Hasty excessive force by the police in implementing the MCO will prevent those who are providing aid to the vulnerable communities. As the situation is getting more critical, it is paramount for all parties, including from the police, JKM, volunteers and people representatives to work together to help those who are at risk of starvation and hunger.

Once again, Bersih 2.0 remind the police to apply wisdom in implementing the MCO. There is no need for tension between the police and ordinary people who want to help each other.

Released by:
Steering Committee of Bersih 2.0