KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng today insisted Datuk Seri Najib Razak openly apologise to every reporter allegedly assaulted by the police during last Saturday’s Bersih rally, rather than saying sorry in private.
According to a Malaysiakini report yesterday, the prime minister had tendered a whispered apology to Mohd Radzi Abdul Razak, a reporter from The Sun who was hospitalised following an alleged attack by police officers.
“The prime minister should not whisper his apology; he should apologise openly to reporters who were beaten up without reason,” said Lim today, adding that “the Home Ministry must take responsibility and can’t say that the police acted professionally.”
“Where’s the professionalism (of police) mentioned by the home minister? Reporters hit without reason, is this professional?”
Lim then called for the formation of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to be set up to ensure action is taken against those who abused police powers during the rally and to prevent a repeat of such behaviour.
Citing an incident in Penang where two reporters were attacked during the February 26 anti-Lynas protest, the Penang chief minister added, “If no action was taken on the ordinary thugs, how can we expect the police to take action against their own members who beat up the reporters? We lack confidence (in the police’s investigations), we need the IPCMC.”
Yesterday, press groups urged Najib to investigate alleged violence against journalists covering Saturday’s Bersih rally.
The organisations highlighted six cases in which reporters were allegedly assaulted by the police while on duty, as well as the arrests of photojournalist Koh Jun Lin and photographer Huang An Jin, which they viewed as an attack against press freedom.
Police were alleged to have also manhandled journalists Arif Kartono, P. Malayandy, Harry Fawcett and Chen Shaua Fui, and either confiscated or damaged their equipment.