KUALA LUMPUR: Police roadblocks leading into the city caused massive jams throughout Monday morning, with Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar issuing an apology to the Malaysian public but reiterating that the police operations were undertaken in the interest of public security.
Most major roads leading to the city have been experiencing traffic congestion since Saturday, when police launched Ops Padam and mounted roadblocks at 12 entry points into the city.
Saying it was for security and safety, Syed Hamid said the roadblocks were carried out in the interest of the public and that the decision was made based on the many statements that were made calling people to demonstrate at Parliament.
He added that the police action had nothing to do with Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
“The public want their safety, not demonstrations or interference with their daily life.
“We have got a lot of evidence to show that whatever they do - they (demonstrations) do interfere with public interest,” he said at the Parliament lobby on Monday.
Police said they were staving off an illegal gathering that Pakatan Rakyat was planning at Parliament or its grounds on Monday morning, in anticipation of a motion of no-confidence being filed against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his Cabinet.
The police obtained a court order barring Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, his supporters and the public from holding any rally or participating in it within a 5km radius of the Parliament building.
Pakatan Rakyat leaders have denied they were planning any such gathering.
Syed Hamid said after the police obtained their court order, Pakatan Rakyat had issued instructions to cool off on the purported rally.
“The police took the court order to ensure they can enforce law and order so that everyone who comes here (to Parliament) can feel protected and that their safety is not jeopardised.”
Syed Hamid said the police were only exercising their rights in taking preventive measures.
The roadblocks are expected to continue until midnight on Monday or until further notice.
In Dewan Rakyat, Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia rejected a motion by Salahuddin Ayub (PAS-Kubang Kerian) to seek an explanation on the heightened security measures imposed on roads in the city and the closure of routes to Parliament House.
Salahuddin said that the police roadblocks which began on Saturday had caused discomfort to the public.
“Parliament has become like a war-zone,” he said, adding that Pakatan Rakyat had not given any directive to its members to gather in Parliament on Monday.
Pandikar Amin said that the House could only discuss issues under the Standing Orders that were related to the House proceedings.
“The House cannot discuss anything that occurs outside this House.
“Security concerns which occur outside the House are not under my purview,” he added.
Source : The Star
Monday July 14, 2008 MYT 3:21:32 PM