By Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling on Saturday, April 10 1993:
DAP calls on the IGP to announce clear-cut and fair guidelines for the holding of public rallies, which apply to all without fear or favour.
The proposed holding of a 10,000-people anti-Sultan of Kelantan public rally y in Kota Bahru today and the refusal by the police at the last minute to grant. a police permit on security grounds should be food for thought by all concerned, and in particular by the Police itself.
DAP calls on the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Hanif Omar, to announce clear-cut and fair guidelines for the holding of public rallies, which apply to all without fear or favour, whether to the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers or any Malaysian; all organistion whether pro-Government or pro-Opposition; ail political parties, whether in power or in Opposition.
The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Hanif Omar, is to be commended for being very conscientious in flying to Kota Bahru himself yesterday to “gauge the level of police preparedness and capabilities in handling security at the proposed rally”.
However, as it is clearly not possible for the Inspector-General of Police to personally deal with every for public rally, it is imperative that the IGP should announce clear-cut and fair guidelines for the holding of public rallies which is understood by all levels of police force and which should apply to everyone.
The background details provided by Tan Sri Hanif Omar about the proposed rally is very surprising. According to Tan Sri Hanif, the Kota Bahru police received an application for the holding of a public rally of some 500 people on April 10 in the name of Persatuan Penyelia Pemba Pembangunan Mukim (PPPM) Chairman, Zainon Mat Lazim, last, Wednesday on April 7.
Police permit for the public rally was granted instantly, but the following day (Thursday, April 8), a fresh application was made by the same person but this time, the number of people who would attend the public rally had jumped from 500 to 10,000.
Tan Sri Hanif said:”The OCPD decided to reject the application because he felt that the crowd was too big and believed that the organisers will not be able to guarantee a peaceful gathering. The State Police Chief reviewed the OCPD’s earlier decision and agreed to cancel the first permit.”
This must have been one of the rare occasions -where the Police gave instant approval on the very day of the application to hold a public rally in three days’ time with regard to the first application involving some 500 people.
In many cases, the DAP has found that the Police would not even entertain our applications to hold ceramahs or other functions if we do not give, two-week or three-week notice.
The IGP should ensure that the Police adopts a fair, balanced and even- handed approach in handling these matters and avoid double-standards where opposition parties are concerned. Let Tan Sri Hanif announce that the police will approve public rallies in the country and lay down the rules which apply without any exception.