Kuala Lumpur - Political ceramah should never be allowed to be held side by side as it will lead to a fracas, as what happened in Gombak on Tuesday night, said former inspector-general of police Musa Hassan.
Musa said that when he was a district police chief in Malacca, he would not allow such things to happen.
"However, I do not know as to what happened in the Gombak incident, whether such orders were given.
"Furthermore, police must be swift in taking action if a rival party member encroaches onto the other side. This could have avoided the fracas and injuries," he said.
Musa said this to reporters after taking part in a forum organised by Sinar Harian on the theme 'Gangster politics: Where is our honour'.
The other panellists were Hulu Selangor MP P Kamalanathan, PAS central committee member Mohd Hanipa Maidin and Integrity Institute Malaysia president Mohd Tap Salleh.
In the Gombak fracas, PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim held a ceramah not too far away from an Umno Youth gathering.
A scuffle occurred and reportedly, two supporters of Pakatan Rakyat and one BN backer were injured.
The case is still being investigated by the Gombak police, who have called witnesses to come forward.
Earlier this year, there was another fracas reported when ceramah were held side by side at Lembah Pantai.
The former IGP added that during his time, he had no problem in giving police permits to opposition holding ceramah as long as it was held at a proper place, adding that he had met with PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang before.
However Musa admitted that sometimes police had to interrupt a political ceramah when it found seditious statements were being made.
"As law enforcers, we have the right to stop the event to prevent things getting out of hand," he said.
Musa was also asked whether he had received any feedback from the Home Ministry or the police since he recently revealed that Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has interfered with the work of the police.
He had alleged the minister had bypassed him in given directions directly to his subordinate.
The former IGP said what was important is that he had revealed the matter.
"I hope things will improve in the police. The minister should not intervene with police duties.
"He can receive reports from the police and play a role in the police commission but not interfere in their work. The person who is personally responsible for the daily running of the force is the IGP.
"Under Section 20 of the Police Act, they are governed to take lawful orders. Anything which is unlawful, even if the order was given by me, the police don't have to obey."
Hanipa also acknowledged that interference from politicians in police affairs was a problem and it had to stop.
Anwar asked for briefing
Responding to another question over his investigations on the book ‘50 Dalil Kenapa Anwar tak boleh jadi PM', (50 reasons why Anwar cannot become PM), Musa admitted that initially he had reported some results of the investigations to the then deputy prime minister.
However, he said as he realised the report was lodged by Anwar (left), and that there could "a conflict of interest", he had stopped briefing Anwar on it.
"Following that, I reported directly to the then IGP (Abdul Rahim Noor)," he said.
Musa was also the investigating officer for the abuse of power and sodomy case on Anwar.
In an interview with Malaysiakini, earlier this year, Musa had reportedly told his younger brother Fuad Hassan off, not to interfere in police investigations when his brother asked him to help Anwar, as he warned that could be constituted as disrupting the investigations.--Courtesy of Malaysiakini