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Monday, August 1, 2011

Najib: Still trying to excuse U-turn on the Bersih Stadium.

Sulaiman Kamal | 12:30 AM | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Prime Minister Najib Razak disclosed today he had thought of the Shah Alam stadium for the July 9 rally when he made offered a venue to Bersih, pointing out this was “the best option” available.
The prime minister, however, had never specified which stadium Bersih could hold the July 9 rally at when he made the offer.
“I offered a stadium. You can show dissent in a stadium, but they still wanted to do it on the streets.

“I had in mind the Shah Alam stadium, that was the best option,” Najib said today during his speech at the closing of the Malaysian Student Leaders Summit (MSLS) here.
He also accused Bersih today of rejecting his stadium offer despite the electoral reform group’s widely publicised concession to conduct the rally in a stadium.
The group had initially agreed to call off the rally after a meeting with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and for it to be held in Stadium Merdeka instead.
The request, however, was rejected by the authorities which resulted in a spill-over of Bersih supporters across the city last July 9 who had planned to march to Stadium Merdeka but were prevented from doing so by the police.
Dissent is allowed
The PM stressed to the students that dissent was allowed in Malaysia, but that it had its limits.
“It’s a fallacy to say that we do not allow dissent. We don’t want it to impede the interests of a large majority,” he added.
“We’re always at the losing end, no matter what we do,” lamented Najib in reference to Pakatan Rakyat (PR)’s criticisms of the way the government had handled the Bersih rally as well as demands for electoral reform.
Bersih estimated that 50,000 people showed up at the July 9 rally for free and fair elections despite efforts to prevent it from taking place while police have said the number was closer to 6,000.
The protest turned chaotic when police fired tear gas and water cannons at thousands of demonstrators, resulting in nearly 1,700 arrests, scores injured and the death of ex-soldier Baharuddin Ahmad, 59.
The government has promised to investigate allegations of police brutality while the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) will hold a separate public inquiry into police conduct during the rally.

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