Hisham: King’s advice not heeded

(NST) – KUALA LUMPUR: Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has criticised the Bersih 2.0 organisers for carrying out their street rally despite the concerns voiced by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“It is clear that the group responsible for organising the rally did not respect the advice of Tuanku Mizan, which is to hold it in a contained area rather than in the streets.”

Hishammuddin expressed satisfaction at the way police handled the situation in the face of provocation from the demonstrators.

The prompt action by the police, he said, had prevented bloodshed and the loss of lives.

“Those involved in the rally were clearly intent on causing chaos in the country. They were also hoping to be detained by authorities so that the government would be portrayed in a bad light.”

Hishammuddin expressed relief that the demonstrators did not use any weapons, bombs or chemical materials, following the seizures of hidden caches of such items by police last week.

“Even till the very end, Bersih 2.0 organisers did not take the initiative to rally peacefully at a contained location, despite assurances from the government that they could gather at any stadium outside the capital.

“The government has the utmost confidence in the nation’s security forces to uphold internal security and public order.

“I am confident that they acted within the ambit of the law. It was clear that the organisers lost control of the situation (yesterday).

“The cries of ‘Reformasi’ also showed the involvement of opposition leaders in the rally.”

Hishammuddin said opposition leaders should be held responsible for the rally, which had resulted in several unfortunate incidents that police quickly got under control.