Nov 2, 2006

Dr M Free To Hold Gatherings But With Permit, Says IGP

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is free to hold any gathering so long as he applies for a permit and observes the rules, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Musa Hassan said Wednesday.

Musa was commenting on allegations by Dr Mahathir that the police would intervene or intimidate anyone found to be organising a gathering or function where criticisms were hurled at Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"If he wants to hold a gathering, we certainly won't stop him. But he has to apply for a permit first and the police will have to evaluate the nature of the gathering.

"If it does not contravene our regulations, we will allow it so long as it is peaceful. But if it can lead to problems or deviates from the stated objectives, the police reserve the right to act ... so it doesn't mean we are a police state," he told a press conference, here.


Recently, Dr Mahathir claimed that Malaysia had become a police state, which he said had caused dissatisfaction among many quarters.

Musa also said that the police would not remain idle if any function or public gathering brought implications that could tarnish the image of the country.

"As the IGP, it is my duty to ensure that security in the country is safeguarded as wanted by our prime minister. If any party has evil intentions or manipulates gatherings, we will come down hard on them," he said.

Musa hoped for the cooperation of non-governmental organisations when organising gatherings or public functions, saying that it was the responsibility and duty of the police to monitor all forms of assemblies.

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