KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — Both organisers and the police have to share responsibility over the violence at the Nothing to Hide 2.0 forum, Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) said today.
The pro-moderation group pointed out that trouble should have been anticipated based on what had happened at the first Nothing to Hide town hall meeting in 2015 featuring Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak that the police called off at the eleventh hour due to security concerns.
“Were steps taken to prevent it?” Cenbet co-president Gan Ping Sieu said in a statement.
At the 2015 event, Najib’s office said he did not turn up at the town hall meeting on police advice. When former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad took the stage instead, police officers cut him short a few minutes into his speech.
Gan urged the authorities to take swift action against provocateurs who had disrupted yesterday’s Nothing to Hide 2.0 forum featuring Dr Mahathir by setting off flares and throwing shoes towards the stage.
“Any delay or hesitation in going after the perpetrators will send the wrong message that political discourses containing elements of violence is tolerated or even condoned,” he said.
Electoral reform group Bersih 2.0 also condemned the violence at the town hall meeting.
“Now is the time for political leadership to end this violence.
“The deafening silence by the Cabinet is unacceptable. The Home Ministry must set the moral standard as this violence may set the tone for the forthcoming 14th General Election,” it said in a statement.
Three teenagers have been arrested in connection to the fracas. Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) Youth denied that the suspects were party members, claiming the T-shirts they wore were not the party’s official garb.
Umno information chief Tan Sri Annuar Musa reportedly said it was irresponsible and unfair to blame his party for the ruckus.