Citizen Nades - Police need to act now

S146: Whenever force or violence is used by an unlawful assembly or by any member thereof, in prosecution of the common object of such assembly, every member of such assembly is guilty of the offence of rioting.

S147: Whoever is guilty of rioting shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.

NO one needs to interpret these two clauses in the Penal Code to our law enforcers. All policemen undergo basic lessons on the Penal Code during their training. Others, including officers who act on behalf of the public prosecutor as prosecuting officers, undergo specialist training at the Police College in Kuala Kubu Baru.

Therefore, after watching various video clips which have appeared to be authentic on social media, right-minded Malaysians have a right to ask: "What are the police doing about the actions of the scores of thugs who are creating havoc in public places?"

People are waylaid along public roads; women are chased around in shopping malls; journalists are being harassed; and there have even been threats to bring down buildings. Have we descended into a lawless state?

A retired police officer had this to say on his Facebook post:
I have served in the Royal Malaysian Police for 36 odd years and went through the mill to become a Police Officer and underwent through the period of May 1969, various duties in Traffic, Highway Patrol, Anti SS Officer, IO/SIO, Prosecutor, Law Lecturer in CID College, PRO, OCS, Camp Commandant ... Assistant Controller in various Election period from Mid 80s ... till retirement ... Never have I seen a group of people who can freely resort to violence or force being used in public while the authorities watch ... It is a very sad stage. Deterrent action is rarely put into use ... Please do correct me if I am wrong !!!!!!!" (This passage was edited for clarity).

Precisely the point – Why aren't the perpetrators being hounded and hunted down when a mere innocent post by a journalist on holy water prompted police to jump over his gate and arrest him in the wee hours of the morning?

The police seem to be pursuing the wrong horse in wanting a planned protest for which applications have been submitted to stop. As was pointed out by Professor Gurdial Singh Nijar in his column on Monday, the home minister declared Bersih illegal on the ground that it was being used for purposes which threatened the security of Malaysia and public order. The High Court quashed the minister's order. That was in 2011.

That order was challenged in the High Court which said that the order was irrational – meaning that it was so outrageous that no sensible person who had applied his mind could have declared it as illegal. Besides, it was illogical and ludicrous.

But in the wake of all these, let us go back to what the home minister-cum-deputy prime minister told reporters at the Parliament lobby last month. He said action will be taken against any group that has violated the law in particular the Peaceful Assembly Act, and that the government will not compromise no matter if they are yellow shirts or red shirts.

"The government will be fair and we will take action regardless of the colour. If there is any party that violated the law especially the Peaceful Assembly Act, action will be taken. We will abide by the law," Astro Awani quoted him as saying.

With such conviction shown by the minister, what are the police waiting for? But as Gurdial noted, the IGP has thrown in his lot on foreign funding which he has categorised as potentially a crime of "undermining parliamentary democracy". After two weeks of brouhaha and hot air in the media, everything has died down.

Shouldn't the priority be law and order? The police have a responsibility to allay the fears of ordinary Malaysians that they are in control of law and order. Not acting on all the evidence as shown in the video clips, aggravates the situation.

Need more be said?

R. Nadeswaran abhors violence and is a firm believer that two wrongs don't make a right. Comments: citizen-nades@thesundaily.com