Posted: 30 Dec 2013 05:57 AM PST
I AM not against people demonstrating. Even if I do, there's little that I can do about it. Our Constitution guarantees peaceful assembly.
It is the fundamental constitutional rights of the people to gather in a peaceful assembly for legitimate purposes.
Therefore, I shall neither honour nor humour the people who are planning all kinds of demonstrations to bid farewell to 2013 and welcome the New Year 2014.
Even the term welcome is subject to interpretation. For many, with the prospects of higher living cost looming, the New Year is neither a happy nor a welcome one.
It is always difficult to maintain peace in a demonstration attended by a large group of people especially when the purpose is a strident one.
My two cents worth of unsolicited advice is, be calm and follow the rules. This applies to everybody – the demonstrators, the policemen and the City Hall enforcement officers.
The protestors will most certainly be young. So are the policemen. Even the IGP was young when the bloody Memali incident took place in 1985.
I remember that well because I attended a series of press conferences and briefings at the Home Minstry in the days that followed.
When it took place, the then PM, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was abroad and Tun Musa Hitam was made Acting PM. He was also Home Minister.We have our share of demonstrations. But do ask: Do we want to be like Siam?
WHILE the protestors, be they for or against the government, may be demanding this and that, they should know that the man who could make things happen, i.e the Prime Minister, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, is not here to hear their demands firsthand.
He will be abroad for the New Year celebrations. Despite an earlier denial by a member of his Communication Advisory Group (CAG), the PM is indeed abroad.
A Kedai Kopi Assembly (KKA) regular said he left soon after Christmas celebrations in Penang and is not due back until Jan. 5.
Some readers and commentators may consider this article a gossip and "fitnah" (libel/slander) or even sacrilegious. But the following is the sequence of event to drive home my point.
1. In the posting entitled "Wanita Chief and the Grandmaster" on Dec. 11, a debater going by the name of Zainol, had, among other things, commented: "…Dia kata Najib akan pergi cuti di LA dengan Isteri…Mereka terbang dari LA ka Sydney nak tengok matahari naik di Sydney. Jam itu kita masih tidor di Malaysia. Lepas itu mereka akan terbang dari Sydney pergi ka Les vagas untok tengok kalimkedua matahari naik. sebab Amerika satu hari lambat dari Australia."
2. I asked a member of the CAG via SMS if this is true. The response: "NO!!!.." which I duly posted in the comment section of the posting entitled "Suspending Newspapers May Not Be The Answer."
3. I then made the following notation: "Jadi, kalau ikut penasihat CAG itu, berita/dakwaan PM akan bercuti di luar negara pada tahun baru tidak betul. Tetapi tahun baru masih 7 hari lagi."
4. Today, on the advise of the CAG member (one who denied the PM was going abroad) I sent the following SMS to the PM's Press Secretary, Tengku Sharifuddin Tengku Ahmad: "Salam Tengku. This is akj. I have published a denial that the PM and wife are going to sydney and las vegas on the new year's eve. The source asked me to confirm with you. Tq."
5. He replied "Dato.. PM is on leave and overseas." (So the CAG member was wrong!)
6. Just to be absolutely sure and not be accused of gossiping, libelling and slandering, I sent another SMS to Tengku Sharifuddin: "Sorry, I assume he will not be around for the new year. Tq."
7. His response: "Overseas on leave. Dpm will be around."
(Good luck Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin. Tired or not our well being is in your hand for the next few days.)
8. Just to be super sure that I wasn't missing anything, I asked two very senior newspaper editors, one of whom is also a member of the CAG, via SMS: "Sdr, akj here. Was there official announcement that the PM is on leave abroad? For my blog. Help appreciated. Tq."
9. One responded: "No. I don't think so. Don't quote me plse."
10. My response to him; "…May I say, a newspaper editor said no official media statement to that effect? Tq."
11. He replied: "Ok."
12. To be fair to all, I shot another SMS to Tengku Sharifuddin: "So the allegation that he might be in sydney and las vegas to see the sunrise on the new year could possibly be true. Someone from the CAG said pm wasn't going abroad. I have to clarify in my blog. Anything u would like to add? Tq."
The PM was also away at this time last year. But he is not alone. Many other ministers are also out of the country.
So if this is a gossip, a libel and a slander ( as I have alleged), I am willing to have debaters and visitors departing this blog in droves and not ever again commit sins by debating here as many a pious Muslim has been warning us lately.
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