Wednesday, October 25, 2017

MEDIA STATEMENT BY M KULASEGARAN MP Ipoh Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman on 25th October 2017

DPM twists and turns on reasons for Octoberfest cancellation

Yesterday, I asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Dr Zahid Hamidi to furnish details of arrests of Islamic militants alleged by the Police as having threatened to strike at the Octoberfest scheduled for earlier this month but was called off for security reasons.

At first, the DPM did not want to answer, contending that my question which was a supplementary one was unrelated to the original query posed by the BN MP for Paya Besar.

The BN MP had asked about the 7 Abu Sayyaf terror suspects arrested by Police in Sabah recently.

However, the DPM proceeded to answer my question, revealing that Police had arrested 3 suspects in connection with alleged threats to Octoberfest and are expecting to arrest a few more.

The DPM went on to say that Octoberfest is not Malaysian culture which suggested that reasons other than security were behind the cancellation.

For years, Octoberfest has been held in Kuala Lumpur and other cities in Malaysia without any incident caused by revellers or by elements supposedly hostile to the event.

Because the Octoberfest event is held within a controlled space, the argument that security considerations factored in the cancellation indicates that we are now at the mercy of terrorist elements who can force the cancellation of events organised within controlled premises.

This means that Police are hard put to ward off alleged terrorists from inflicting their nefarious designs on events and people in Malaysia.

This year the annual Octoberfest event in Penang was held without any disruption. But in KL and Klang, scheduled events had to be called off because of threats to security, so say the Police.

The DPM, in the course of fielding my supplementary question, said the policy to cancel the Octoberfest was colour-blind. Apparently, this was said to allay non-Muslim frustration at the cancellation.

The DPM's statement is a mess in the sense that one cannot make head or tail of what the government is trying to convey by the cancellation of the KL and Klang stagings of Octoberfest.

All that the public can infer from the confused government stance is that terrorists can dictate what events can be or can't be held and that Police provision of security within a controlled public space cannot be guaranteed.

All in all, this is a pathetic state of affairs. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has assured President Donald Trump during his recent visit to the White House that the Islamic State will not be allowed to gain traction in Malaysia.

But in KL and Klang, alleged members of Daesh, if the DPM is to be believed, have bored holes into the security assurances rendered by Najib to Trump.

Meanwhile, the non-Muslims leaders within the ruling BN coalition, save for some vocal members from the federal coalition's Sarawak chapters, are mute before Umno's supine yielding to the threats, fabricated or otherwise, of Islamic militants.

M.Kula Segaran

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