Malaysia

Let RTM show Bersih crowd violence, Rais tells cops

July 18, 2011

Police use water cannons on Bersih supporters during a rally in Kuala Lumpur July 9, 2011. — Reuters picPolice use water cannons on Bersih supporters during a rally in Kuala Lumpur July 9, 2011. — Reuters picBANTING, July 18 — Datuk Seri Rais Yatim today offered for Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) to broadcast police recordings of unruly crowd behaviour captured during the July 9 Bersih rally.

The information minister urged the police to hasten the showing of any such material to combat allegations of police brutality during their attempts to disperse the crowds attending the rally for electoral reforms.

Earlier today, Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar said six teams will be set up to probe alleged incidents of brutality and violence by the authorities during the Bersih rally.

He also appealed to the public to submit video footage captured during the march as evidence that police used excessive force in dispersing protesters.

Police previously another formed three teams to investigate the death of protester Baharuddin Ahmad, whom authorities said died of a heart attack, and claims that police fired tear gas and water cannon into Tung Shin Hospital that day.

Today, Rais also said the public should not criticise the police for not being genial in the execution of their duties

“If they’re like that, the public will not be afraid of them... We don’t want the police to be always smiling or being too polite until the people question their ability to protect the country,” the minister was quoted in a Bernama Online report today.

Authorities arrested nearly 200 people ahead of the rally for electoral reforms, and added almost 1,700 more to the tally on July 9 when Kuala Lumpur was put into virtual lockdown.

Despite the efforts to prevent the July 9 Bersih rally from taking place, tens of thousands converged on the capital city in a march for free and fair elections.

The protest, which the government had earlier declared illegal, turned chaotic close to midday when the police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse protestors.