DAP deplores Malacca Police over-reaction in total mobilisation of police personnel, including FRU/ and police officers posted for court duties, as if facing a riot situation when all that was happening was a ‘Walk or Jog at Bukit China’

Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, in DAP PJ Headquarters on Monday, 20th August 1984 at 12 noon

DAP deplores Malacca Police over-reaction in total mobilisation of police personnel, including FRU/ and police officers posted for court duties, as if facing a riot situation when all that was happening was a ‘Walk or Jog at Bukit China’

The DAP strongly deplores the Malacca Police over-reaction yesterday in total mobilisation of police personnel, including fully-armed FRU squads as well as police personnel posted for court duties, as if facing a riot situation when all that was happening was a ‘Walk or Jog’ at Bukit China by those who are concerned for the preservation of Bukit China as a national heritage.

The stopping of several bus-loads of DAP members from Johore and Selangor who wanted to have a ‘Walk or Jog’ at Bukit China yesterday, was almost deplorable and high-handed.

Have the security in Malaysia become so fragile and brittle that even exercises like walking or jogging at the 104-arce Bukit China cemetry hill has become a threat to public peace and order? Are we going to reach a stage where walking or jogging would be a crime?

The police cannot expect to have public confidence unless it itself shows greater respect and confidence in the people, and can distinguish the peaceful and law-abiding people who want to assert their right to ‘Walk or Jog’ to Save Bukit China, who have no intention whatsoever to create social disorder and chaos, and elements who wanted to disrupt public order and security.

If the police indiscriminately lump both these groups together, then it is the police who will be creating a most serious situation!

The tension in Malacca yesterday was completely the creation of the Police, turning ‘Walk or Jog’ event, which would have been a good exercise for all concerned, into a security tense security event.

I would have thought that the prime duty of the police anywhere is to defuse tension, and not to generate tension.

During the constitutional crisis at the end of last year, when a massive illegal public rally was held in Malacca, and various government leaders spoke at the illegal public rally at Kubu Stadium, the Malacca Police did not sent out their FRU squads and mobilise their police forces to disperse the illegal rally. But now, walking or jogging at Bukit China has become a security problem for the Malacca Police. Where is the Malacca Police’s right sense of the order of priorities?

DAP to hold weekly ‘walk or jog’ sessions at Bukit China to assert the right and freedom of the people of Malacca to walk or jog at Bukit China

What happened in Malacca yesterday involved an important principle, the right of the people to ‘walk or jog at Bukit China’ without any police interference.

I want to announce that to establish this principle, the DAP will organise weekly ‘walk or jog’ sessions at Bukit China to assert the right and freedom of the people of Malacca to walk or jog at Bukit China.

All participants of the weekly ‘walk or jog’ at Bukit China to Save Bukit China will wear the ‘Save Bukit China’ T-shirt, to demonstrate their commitment to the cause to save Bukit China as a national heritage.

I will announce details of this weekly ‘Walk or Jog to Save Bukit China’ in Malacca tomorrow.

If the Malacca Police has nothing more important to do, then to go into full mobilisation every week to interfere with people’s right to walk or jog at Bukit China, then let Malaysian people judge whether the country is wasting the public funds spent on the police, and the world judge as to the type of police state Malaysia has become.

DAP protests strongly against the arrest of 23 DAP leaders and members

The DAP protests in the strongest possible terms against the Malacca Police arrest of 23 DAP leaders and members, including the National Director of Operations of the Save Bukit China Campaign, Sdr. Liew Ah Kim (who is also the National DAP Save Bukit China campaign secretary and former Selangor Assemblyman for Kajang) and Sdr. Lai Keun Ban, DAP Malacca Assemblyman for Durian Daun and Malacca DAP Save Bukit China Committee Secretary.

They had committed no offence except to want to go to Bukit China to walk or to jog.

Sdr. Lai Keun Ban had an unpleasant experience with a Police Officer, which shows that although the 2M government preaches a efficient, courteous and service-oriented civil service, many senior public servants have not heard or understood or bothered about the 2M government’s injuctions.

This is what Sdr. Lai had recounted and reported to me about his experience:

Yesterday morning, when he arrived at Bukit China in his jogging shorts, together with four others, wearing the ‘Save Bukit China T-shirt’, he was accosted by a police officer with a name-tag ‘ARAVIN’ (whom we later found was Police Prosecuting Chief Inspector V.Aravindakshan), who told Sdr, Lai’s and others ‘Balek Sekarang’ in a very threatening manner. He asked for Sdr. Lai’s identity card, and when Sdr. Lai said his identity card was in his car nearby, as he was dressed for jogging, ARAVIN told him to leave, or he would charge him for not carrying an identity card. When Lai refused to leave, as he was there for a jog, Aravin went with Lai to his car where Lai showed him his identity card.

Aravin was rude and very unpleasant, and wanted Sdr. Lai to mention and spell out his name when checking his identity card, as if he was a lowly criminal. Not satisfied, or pretending to be unsatisfied, he demanded for Sdr. Lai’s driving licence. Aravin then wanted Sdr. Lai to go with him to the police station in the police van, and when Sdr. Lai said he had committed no offence and was in Bukit China to jog, Aravin threaten to hand-cuff him. A policeman with Aravin took out a hand-cuff. Aravin also ordered a police photographer to photograph Sdr. Lai.

When Sdr. Lai was taken into the police van, he tried to speak ask a Party comrade outside the van to let me know that he had been arrested. When Dr. Lai pushed down the window of the van, Aravin gruffly and roughly slammed the window upwards, declaring that he could do what he wanted in the police van.

These intimidating tactics of Aravin in his capacity as a police officer is most deplorable. We do not ask for separate treatment between Assemblyman and the members of the public, but if the police could be so rude, high-handed and utterly lacking in civility when dealing with an Assemblyman, we can imagine what type of bullies they could be when dealing with ordinary people.

Members of the public had complained of being harrassed and bullied to the extent of persecution by the Police, and if Aravin is a model of police behavior, then such public complaints are most justifiable.

There is no justification whatsoever for Aravin to arrest Sdr. Lai for not having an identity card, when his I/C is in his car nearby, as he is dressed for jogging.

If Aravin jogs, he will know that no jogger jogs with his identity card or any papers on him or her. If Aravin is again the police model in Malaysia, then the police would be merrily arresting every jogger in his jogging suit, every swimmer in the swimming pool or the beaches coming out of a swim, and in all athletic meets in the country, the Police can just swarm in to arrest the runners in the track suits for not having identity card on their person.

In fact Thomas Cup or other badminton contests, soccer or hockey, competitions or any other game for that matter, would be fruitful occasions for the police to arrest the players or sportsmen or sportswomen for not having an identity card on them.

Have we arrived in the year 1984 as painted by George Orwell where the Police are everywhere, imposing their will on the people, interpreting laws and regulations in the most nonsensical ways?

I will write to the Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Musa Hitam, to protest in the strongest possible terms against Aravin’s misconduct in public, and to ask for disciplinary action to be taken against him to set an example for all the people police personnel as to how they should not conduct themselves in public – threatening the people and using their powers to bully rather than to protect the public.

The DAP is looking forward to the trial of the 23 DAP leaders and members arrested just to ‘walk or jog’ to Save Bukit China, for it is an excellent example to use to educate the people as to their rights, and to impress on the public that they must not take everything the police do, however unreasonable or wrong, lying down. They have a right to stand up and expose the Police for its wrongdoings and abuses of power, for the police are finally the servants – and not the masters – of the people.

In the police summons for all the 23 DAP leaders and members arrested yesterday, requiring Sdr. Lai to appear in the magistrate’s court on Sept. 19 and the pother 22 to appear in Magistrate’s Court on Sept. 24, the charges they would be brought to court were not mentioned at all.