Putrajaya: Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday Datuk S. Ambiga and the opposition must take responsibility for allowing a peaceful gathering in the federal capital on Saturday to turn violent.
Describing what happened as regrettable, he said Ambiga, as the main organiser of the rally, must also face the law for the resulting damage to property and policemen being injured.
"Yesterday's riots were uncalled for. The opposition must be held responsible for that.
"Ambiga should not be allowed to walk away from taking responsibility because she was the main organiser. So, we will leave it to the authorities to take the appropriate action against her. We are not trying to restrain her freedom. We already gave her that," he said.
He said this to reporters after opening the National Education Dialogue 2012 at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre here yesterday.
Muhyiddin said the opposition had clearly taken advantage of the rally to gain political mileage in view of the upcoming general election.
He said Saturday's rally, which turned ugly and ended up with riots and violent incidents, had caused uneasiness and anger among members of the public.
"Unfortunately, the rally turned out not the way Ambiga had wanted. She lost control of the situation. The rally was clearly hijacked by opposition parties and we know their tricks.
"It was just a part of their plans to face the upcoming general election," he said.
Hence, he said, the people should be able to judge for themselves the dirty tactics used by the opposition in masterminding the rally, which was initially allowed by the government to be held in a stadium to maintain public order.
He said the government was also aware that the opposition would act more aggressively if the Barisan Nasional wins the general election.
"We know they will do something bigger than this to cause anger among the public, they will probably instigate young people to stage street demonstrations like what has happened in conflict-stricken countries.
"We can expect their next course of action. That's why they have Bersih 1, Bersih 2, Bersih 3 (assemblies). If the election is not held soon, they will continue to make more mess with (Bersih) 4, 5 and 6," he said.
He said allegations made by the organiser and the opposition that the election system in this country was not transparent was not true as members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms also comprised opposition members of Parliament.
He said the committee had unanimously agreed on 22 issues, more than what were demanded by the rally organiser, and that the Election Commission (EC) was in the midst of implementing the committee's recommendations in stages.
"The booklet issued by the EC recently also clarified each issue in detail including on the electoral roll and the new system which will be implemented in the next general election. I think this is more than what they had wanted," he said.
According to him, police carried out their responsibilities professionally to control the riots on Saturday.
"Police took a restraining attitude and kept calm, unfortunately, certain parties there could not control their feelings and injured the police instead," he said.
He stressed that the untoward incidents, including hurting police personnel, destroying police vehicles and public property could have been avoided had the assembly been held peacefully in a stadium.
"Their promise it would be peaceful turned out to be not. Public properties were damaged, policemen were hurt and I heard there were police officers admitted to ICU (Intensive Care Unit)," he said.
--Courtesy of New Sabah Times