THE jam on Monday could have been avoided if the police had used more discretion.
Even though the people are grateful to the police for protecting the general public, but the way in which it went about setting up road blocks all over Kuala Lumpur under Ops Padam was not welcome.
Children were late to kindergarten and school, and workers late to work. So much productivity time was wasted on the roads and the jams indirectly caused more consumption of precious petrol.
It is a good thing that in recent weeks more city folks have been opting for public transport, otherwise the jams could have been worse.
The notion that an illegal rally on Parliament grounds could jeopardise public safety was a bit way-off. In fact, the moment the police realised no such rally was taking place or supposedly called-off, the roads blocks should have eased a little, especially those that were not in KL.
If the intention of the authorities in causing such inconvenience was for the people to feel ill will for the Opposition, then clearly it backfired. Instead, more motorists are upset with the police.
The massive jams in Petaling Jaya for instance were unwarranted. Although quite a distance from Parliament, nonetheless there were road-blocks there too. The presence of so many police personnel would only cause the public distress and panic as it would seem that their presence is necessary to prevent chaos or anarchy. If this were not so, then why the need for such heavy police presence? Why string barbed wire across roads?
With the ample warnings and the court order obtained, only specific roads near Parliament needed to be controlled, and that too not blocked entirely. This would facilitate the flow of traffic as many motorists use the access road near Parliament to enter the city. Blocking off the road completely would only cause congestion.
The blocking of the main arteries and access roads into the city was not properly thought through. How many people did the police actually expect to keep away from the illegal rally with their roadblocks, when they didn’t have an inkling of who to stop from attending in the first place? Every weekday, an average 500,000 vehicles enter KL – imagine blocking out or slowing the flow of all these vehicles.
Furthermore being a working day, most of the so-called opposition supporters would have been busy at work and only a hardcore few would actually find time to attend the rally. “Punishing” all city folk for the alleged illegal acts of a few doesn’t seem right. The rally that the police believed would take place didn’t even materialise. City police chief Datuk Muhammad Sabtu Osman called on the public not to be swayed by rumours, but it looks like the police were hoodwinked into believing that a massive rally would take place.
What was the purpose of setting up road blocks in towns outside the Klang Valley heading to KL? In Alor Gajah, the road-block caused a bottleneck and all the police did there was to slowly wave cars through. In some cases, there is feedback that personnel were sitting on the side of the road while the cones blocked one or two lanes, leaving only one lane free. How effective is this?
Pakatan Rakyat leaders though are not absolved of blame.
They should also behave responsibly and maturely. The people made their choices very clear in March. Respect their wishes. Yes, PR did do well, but are they so hungry for power that they cannot wait for the next election to try again? Must they go about trying to achieve their wishes at the expense of the country? Why continue to have rallies? These will only cause more hardship to the people.
Delren Terrence Douglas
Selangor Youth Information Bureau
Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia
Gerakan does not approve of Monday’s massive roadblock