MCA notes that the police have arrested three suspects allegedly involved in roughing up journalists from The Star and Malaysiakini, and that from Dubai, Red Dato’ Jamal Yunus, who leads the Red Shirts protestors has apologised “if there was an incident.”
But Jamal Yunus’ “apology” could be “more baked” had he been present in Kuala Selangor to control his crowd, more so, as he is the Umno Sungai Besar division Chairman. It is Jamal Yunus, the self-proclaimed leader of the Red Shirts who galvanised his supporters to go on a rally which has since spiralled out of control. But as their leader, why did he fly off to Dubai at the peak of the Red Shirts counter public assembly?
Leaders who implore their supporters to stage public gatherings would carry credibility if they are physically present to control the unruly mob from ill-conduct and bearing full responsibility when their supporters intimidate and attack others, rather than flying overseas, like as if, fleeing liability and police action.
Reiterating that criminal charges must be slapped upon the Red Shirts protestors who had descended into violent harassment, MCA asserts that the assailant(s) must be be charged with battery for grabbing The Star reporter’s collar.
For any unsolicited physical contact amidst threats of imminent harm, no matter how puny, assault and battery charges must be heaved upon the perpetrators. For surrounding the media workers thereby restricting their mobility, the perpetrators should also be charged with illegal confinement.
Not only that, grabbing the reporter’s collar and forcing her to delete the photographs in the larger context, are akin to choking the media ie coercively muzzling the press from performing their duties.
The repetitive shrieks of “delete, delete”, betrays the assailants’ cowardice, as if hoping to mask the public from discovering their violent tendencies and streaks.
No room for mob rule by hooligans who jolly well know what they’re up to!
MCA reiterates that we are a nation governed by the rule of law. The authorities must not allow the Red Shirts to escape with their harassments and menace of injuries, lest thuggery becomes legitimised only for law-breaking hooligans whose success is reaped by instilling fear into the lives of ordinary citizens.
MCA does not dispute that the public has the right to freedom of assembly so long as all the conditions as spelt out in the Peaceful Assembly Act have been complied with.
What business, much less legal right, has the Red Shirts to attack the media practitioners, even if they disagree with the angle from which Malaysiakini would usually report from for all their other news articles? A counter peaceful protest highlighting the points of their disagreement against the Bersih 5 convoy would have been apt.
Chai Kim Sen