Opposition should consider public interest first, says Syed Hamid
By SIM LEOI LEOI
KUALA LUMPUR: The Opposition should consider public interest first before threatening to resort to street demonstrations as a means to convey its displeasure to the Government.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said street demonstrations would only cause public disorder and security fears among Malaysians.
"Street demonstrations are not the way of the country. The Opposition must seek police approval and permits to organise any rally or protests.
"They should put public interest way ahead of everything else. Street demonstrations are not the answer to everything and this is certainly not the way to channel their wishes to the Government," he told reporters after meeting with representatives from the Bangladeshi High Commission office at the Parliament lobby Monday.
"The Opposition should not threaten the Government like this.
"The elections are over. The Government has to focus on its work and likewise, the Opposition should concentrate on providing check and balance," Syed Hamid said.
The minister was commenting on a statement by PAS treasurer and anti-fuel hike rally organiser Dr Hatta Ramli that the Opposition would "bring the demonstrations and protests to the streets." if the Government failed to take heed of its message.
Syed Hamid reminded the Opposition that it should adhere to existing procedures and obtain police permits for any gathering or protest they had planned.
"Please don't complain if the police take action against anything illegal," he said.
Syed Hamid also described a recent meeting he had with the three Hindraf detainees under the Internal Security Act as "warm and friendly".
"During the meeting, all of them expressed their desire to be freed," he said, adding that another detainee P. Uthayakumar was not present.
On private investigator P. Balasubramaniam, who had "disappeared" after retracting parts of his statutory declaration, Syed Hamid said he was not aware if the latter had gone overseas.
"He must be safe somewhere. I have not gone into details of the police probe into this case," he said.
Asked if the ministry would offer protection for Balasubramaniam so he could cooperate with the police, Syed Hamid said it was always ready to do that.
He said he also denied that he had called Opposition de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim an "American spy", saying that he merely called him a "snitch" for reporting to the US government and embassy, which had earlier issued a statement warning Malaysia against "politically motivated" prosecution.
"Malaysia is not a colony. We are doing what is only right under the law. Anwar should not be issuing threats against the Government.
"He's trying to use psychology against the Government and his theories of conspiracy are interesting. However, he should do less of this and focus on his work," he said, adding that the Malaysian government was not "scared" of any threat.