KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 (Bernama) — The illegal planned demonstration for July 9 is seen by some political analysts as an attempt by the organisers to maintain the opposition’s momentum in the run-up to the coming general election.
Political science lecturer at the Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Dungun campus, Asri Salleh, said the organisers who included the opposition also wanted to gauge their popularity or to test the waters to see how much public support they had, besides inciting hatred towards the government.
“They can also be seen as deliberately challenging the existing laws. Their agenda is to hold a mass gathering. This can cause trouble in the capital city.
“The Election Commission (EC) has offered to discuss the issues raised. Why did they reject it? Why don’t they want to gather at a stadium or any other enclosed place as suggested by some quarters?” he said to Bernama.
Asri also asked whether the organisers of the proposed illegal demonstration could guarantee public safety since they had claimed that thousands would be participating.
“If 100,000 attend, what guarantee is there that the illegal rally will be under control? From the psychological point of view, in a mass gathering like this, there will be a few who will resort to mob behaviour. Politicians and psychologists know this.
“Moreover, this planned illegal assembly will be held in an open place…an event which might appear harmless at first could turn violent. We have seen this in other instances where trouble or rioting broke out in stadiums from a little altercation among a few individuals.
“It’ll be like a hornet attacking its enemy and the rest will follow,” he explained.
Asri said if this happened (trouble broke out), the police would definitely be blamed, while they had much earlier stated that the gathering had received no permit and therefore, would be illegal.
He said any group could be behind the provocation, whereby the situation could get out of control, more so when four groups – Datuk S. Ambiga’s group, Umno Youth, Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) and the public would be holding rallies.
“It’s rather odd that Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman is always chosen by organisers to hold a street demonstration. Why not Jalan Bukit Bintang or any other road? There must be an ulterior motive in choosing this location,” he said.
Asri said although constitutionally, mass gatherings were allowed, the provision must be read with other clauses and articles (in the Constitution) so that security, businesses and the public’s daily routine would not be jeopardised.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s senior political science lecturer, Abdul Ghapa Harun, said the situation could be seen from two aspects – for and against the planned demonstration.
He said one group was of the opinion that it should be allowed as based on the Federal Constitution, they had the right to freedom of expression and to gather.
However, it should also not cause problems or inconvenience to others from the safety, economic and other aspects, he added.
“This planned gathering is said not to have been approved by the authorities, therefore the authorities should weigh the situation and think what should be done if the gathering happens or otherwise, to avoid trouble.”
However, Ghafa is inclined towards police taking stern measures as provided by the country’s laws to prevent the illegal gathering from taking place in order to maintain stability and harmony in the country. — BERNAMA