Side Views

Police must serve to protect, not persecute — The Malaysian Insider

September 09, 2012

SEPT 9 — It is commendable that police took swift action to detain a man who apparently waved a gun while chasing away youths who were blocking Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's entourage in the Jelajah Merdeka Rakyat function in Malacca yesterday.

No one should display their firearms just to invoke fear in public. And if that man, a bodyguard employed by Anwar, is liable for prosecution, so be it.

But what is more disturbing is how the event unfolded. That there are people out there who were blocking a road just so that people, including Anwar, cannot attend a  function organised by PKR. And the police were there and did nothing.

According to media reports, there were plainclothes policemen and Special Branch officers who were there observing the PKR function. They did nothing to stop the youths. They only sprang to action when the bodyguard apparently waved his gun.

Malacca state police chief Datuk Chuah Ghee Lye has said the man has been detained for questioning, adding "Let us investigate the matter first as it is still premature to determine if the man had actually pointed the weapon at the public, or he was just brandishing it as an act of protecting someone.

"He could have taken out the gun and accidentally showed it to the people gathered there,” he said.

Yet, nothing is done to ensure that people have right of way to their own event? Couldn't the police have stopped these youths from such hooliganism? When have politicians resorted to such action to stop their opponents from campaigning?

Here, the police must serve to protect all because all of us are staying in this country. They cannot be selective and just persecute one side. How ironic is it that there are groups who lodged a report against the bodyguard for displaying his gun but are themselves guilty of blocking the free passage of others.

And why haven't the police taken action against these people? Do the police need reports lodged when their own men are there and witnessed what can be politely termed as an illegal blockade?

The police serve the people, not the interests of certain political quarters. Unless they reinforce this principle, the police will only invite ridicule and derision from the public whom they have sworn to protect. Do we have a public police force or one that acts on the behalf of vested interests?

We hope the police know better. Take action against the bodyguard if he committed an offence. But also take action against those who impede and block others from carrying out their business. That is the right thing to do.