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Monday November 12, 2007
By MUGUNTAN VANAR and RUBEN SARIO
KOTA KINABALU: Saturday’s street protest in Kuala Lumpur was an attempt to drag the royalty into opposition politics, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.
The Prime Minister said the illegal gathering of thousands of people that ended with a memorandum being handed over to an Istana Negara official was an attempt by the opposition to “trap” the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
“I believe the King is more mature. The royalty understands and will not be trapped by their (the opposition’s) politics,” he said after opening the Parti Bersatu Sabah 22nd congress yesterday.
Abdullah described the illegal gathering that also saw the involvement of five opposition parties as a political gimmick.
“When the opposition thinks the elections will be called soon they do all sorts of activities to win support; that’s normal,” he added.
The gathering was organised by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih), a group of 60 non-governmental organisations and political parties and it began with thousands gathering at five meeting points in Kuala Lumpur to join in a march to the Istana Negara.
When one group of protesters refused police orders to disperse as they approached the Masjid Jamek area at about 2.30pm, teargas and water cannons were used on them.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said police exercised restraint when controlling the crowd.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister said he was satisfied that police had acted responsibly in handling the situation effectively.
He said many ordinary folk opposed the street protest as it caused them much inconvenience.
“Police have the duty to prevent any untoward incident and they will need to take preventive measures such as putting up road blocks. This causes inconvenience but it is necessary,” he added.
To a question on Sabah’s longstanding illegal immigrant problem, Abdullah said it could only be addressed with the people’s cooperation, by not providing shelter or job opportunities or to immediately report to authorities any such foreigners in their midst.
“Malaysians are always very kind and this becomes a problem sometimes when dealing with these illegals,” he said, adding that there were also those who adopted a “don’t care” attitude towards the problem.
Later, Abdullah attended the Deepavali open house hosted by Sabah MIC at the Likas Sports Complex multi-purpose hall before opening the Liberal Democratic Party congress.
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