There police has surprisingly put up an almost model performance in handling the protest march by UMNO Youth and Perkasa today in Penang. Features: the police allowed 2 hours of unhindered march through the city by almost 300 marchers. No one was asked for any permit. During the march there was minimum presence of police-not even traffic police. There were 4-5 police assigned to block the marchers-even that was done more or less symbolically-not to stop them. 8 persons were arrested not so much for marching but for trying to enter KOMATR by force. In fact one of them Ezam Mohd Nor turned himself in to augment the number of arrested persons, after the event. Police only concentrate at KOMTAR to safeguard the administrative centre of the state government. Even when the marchers stopped traffic on the busy Penang Bridge only a few police and a few bridge management personnel came to monitor the situation. Even after 3 journalists were intimidated up to the point of being punched, there was no one arrested at the march.A sign of `tolerance’?
Earlier the Penang police had applied court order to stop 2 state government briefing session cum rallies on Bersih, where the state government complied with the court order. Then the police did not stop the PAS gathering at Kepala Batas, after they stopped a forum in Han Chiang College. The restraint in KOMTAR’s march seems to follow a pattern adopted from the beginning.
So: is this the template to be used by the police on July 9th? If so the police is giving a good signal that they are not that `garang’/blood thirsty after all, despite the tough warning against the July 9th March. Let’s hope that the July 9th march will be welcomed by the police with the same civility and understanding as they are capable of on July 9th. After all the real politics is: the more police beat up the participants the more they will turn to the Opposition-something the police will swear they are not the accomplice!
But could this be because the police has a different tolerance for these pro-BN marchers? Could the police show their true colour on July 9th and condone the Perkasa mob to attack the Bersih marchers? Nobody can tell-but the possibility that all sides understand the media spotlight will exposed the bad behaviour of anyside may discourage the Perkasa and police to act wantonly against fellow citizens in the country! Let’s hope that the police do their exemplary job on July 9th and bring in a Malaysian Spring!