Thursday, September 28, 2017

Media statement by M.Kula Segaran MP Ipoh Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman in Ipoh on 28th September 2017

Police must be forthcoming on terrorist threat to Better Beer Festival

I would like to congratulate Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Hassan on being awarded Singapore's top award, the Meritorious Service Medal.

The republic said the award was for reasons of “substantive intelligence exchanges and extensive cooperation in areas of mutual security interest, particularly against the terrorism threat.”

Presumably, these exchanges took place when the IGP was Special Branch head, a post he held before his recent promotion to IGP.

Tan Sri Fuzi Hassan should excuse me if I said that since becoming IGP he has been rather puzzling when it comes to sharing information with the Malaysian public about the terrorism threat.

Needless to say, protection of the Malaysian public against the dangers of criminal and terrorist conduct is of course his paramount duty.

Therefore by saying the cancellation of the Better Bear Festival 2017 by Kuala Lumpur City Hall was motivated by concerns to avert terrorist threats and then leaving the matter at that without substantive explanation is puzzling.

The IGP ought to be more fortright and open with justificaions for the claims made by the police with respect to the refusal of Kuala Lumpur City Hall to allow the festival to go ahead.

Merely saying that threats from religious extremists factored in the cancellation of the event is not enough.

Would future threats to the opening of Parliament or the holding of the annual Merdeka Parade prompt the response of cancellation by the authorities? And that, too, without adequate explanation?

The IGP has to be as substantive as he has apparently been with the Singapore authorities in respect of the terrorist threat.

We understand certain information must necessarily be kept secret. But not when they involve apparent threats to events that are considered normal by the standards of civil society.

The public wants to know if suspects been detained in connection with the threat against Better Bear Festival and are charges being mulled against them?

The public has a right to know as otherwise they will think that the police force is being used to further the agenda of certain political interests of opponents of Better Beer Festival.

The festival was scheduled to have been held in a controlled public space and in that sense it would have been entitled to protection by the police in the normal course of its operations in the interest of public security.

We can think of many events that would be exposed to threats from terrorists if it is said that a beer festival planned to be held in a controlled public space can be refused permission to go ahead on the basis of unsubstantiated threats from religious extremists.

Aren't we here opening up a can of cancellations the end of which we cannot envisage?

I urge the police to be more open and fortright and not content themselves with inexplicable justifications that invite more questions than provide answers.

Threats from terrorists and extremists are no small matter. And combatting them requires public awareness and vigilance which are not helped by an attitude of the police that makes all decisions on public security dependent on assessments that are not subject to public scrutiny and appraisal.

The threat from terrorism cannot be contained within an environment denuded of clarifying information and the cooperation of an aware public.

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