Former Health Minister and MCA veteran Datuk Chua Jui Meng condemned the protest outside the the Bar Council secretariat on Saturday as an “embarrassment” to political leaders and the police force.
“The rakyat has voiced an expectation of their leaders to represent all races and to uphold the rule of the law. In spite of that voice, we see leaders attempting to justify the protest and the infringement of the law.
“The fact remains that on one side the Bar Council was lawfully holding a forum in its own premise, and on the other was a mob hurling racial abuses which were seditious and unlawful. Do we even know if the protestors had a police permit, and if so why was it given?
“The rakyat will also wonder why the police force, which proved effective in dispersing demonstrations of over 10,000 people were this time unable to contain a 300-strong mob,” said Chua in a statement released today.
Chua also said a few years ago, a number of non-Muslim ministers in the Cabinet presented a petition on interfaith issues to the Prime Minister but the petition was later withdrawn.
“The vociferous presence of the representatives of Umno, PAS and PKR and the insensitive statements that they made is a sad reflection of the racial and religious divisions in our society 50 years after Merdeka,” he added.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, in a statement issued in Petaling Jaya yesterday, described as as “disappointing” Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s remarks about the protest.
He also said the rowdy and hooligan behaviour by sections of the crowd, which included Umno and some Pakatan Rakyat MPs, and the use of racial epithets and slurs was deplorable.
“DAP condemns such near-violent behaviour and welcomes the disciplinary action taken by the respective PR parties as announced, to prevent PR’s image from being tarnished and dragged down to the same level as Umno,” Lim said.
He added that in dealing with sensitive issues of religion, human rights and justice, reference should be made to the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.