©The Sun (Used by
by Giam Say Khoon
KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 5, 2007): The government should manage demonstrations
properly and not use force, as this will not help to solve the real problems
at hand, said Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.
Zaid, the Barisan Nasional member of Parliament for Kota Baru, said he
expected ethnic and religious issues to be among the serious issues to be
discussed in the next general election.
He said that among them would be the issues raised by the Hindu Rights Action
Force (Hindraf) demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 25.
He said this in his talk on the issues to be expected in the
next polls, presented in the Rotary ClubĄ¯s weekly meeting today.
Zaid observed that peaceful demonstrations were part of the democratic
"It is actually a small thing to me and I wish that after 50 years of
independence, we will be able to manage this thing quite easily. To
demonstrate and protest in a peaceful way is part and parcel of a democratic
country," he said.
He added that the police could have told the people which road to take and
how the organiser should control and limit the crowd so that the
demonstration can be properly managed.
"But our response has always been 'No', even the Bar Council has
abandoned the walk to celebrate International Human Rights Day (Monday, Dec
"I was part of the walk last year and the year before. It was just a
walk. We were just walking around the Lake Garden and it was good
exercise," he said.
Zaid also said sensitive issues such as the demolition of temples must be
handled with care, and overlooking that would risk provoking extreme
reactions from the people who were affected by it.
He said "using force and power", the Internal Security Act or
revoking the protestersĄ¯ citizenship would not help the situation or address
the real issues faced by the people.
"We have to remember that we are a multi-cultural and multi-racial
country and if we, all the time, see it as a Malay, Chinese or Indian issue,
we are not going to see the real problem.
"Somebody said the Malays are worse than the Indians as only 2.9% of the
Indians are poor, compared with 8% of the Malays who are poor. It is not
going to help to say who has the problems. So why are we are still responding
to the issues in such a negative way, why do we need to remind ourselves and
start comparing ourselves as Chinese, Indians and Malays?" he asked.
"Let's not talk about race and religion. Let's just see things as what
they are, economic issues and the sensitivity of the people."
Zaid said the nation needed a people-oriented government, which he described
as one which would listen to even the most ridiculous demand from the people.
"Some even said we need new faces in the cabinet and I think so
too," he added.
He said he was often asked why he joined the BN, and his reply was that the
BN concept to get all the people together was a wonderful concept although it
was not easy to achieve.
"You have a wonderful model and you just need to think, to adjust and
change from within. So I criticise the BN because I want it to become
better," he said, adding that the BN should be driven more as a
coalition and not by one party or Umno.
Fresh Thinking Indeed
by Tan Peek Guat on 06 December, 2007 at 17:05 PM
We really need more of such politicians who do not incite ill
feelings and squabbles among Malaysians.
"Blessed are the peace-makers, for theirs is the Kingdom of God",
says the Bible.
As for the Rights Walk, he said, "I was part of the walk last year and
the year before. It was just a walk. We were just walking around the Lake
Garden and it was good exercise".
Tan Peek Guat