Thursday, May 18, 2006

Should the rule of law should be placed above peace and security?

The police have apparently finished the probe into the 500 strong mob that disrupt the May 14, 2006 forum in Penang on the conflict between civil and syariah laws in Malaysia.

Police have said that the parties involved have been identified, but it remains to be seen if any concrete or meaningful action will be taken against the protesters.

An article in the Sun about this incident is here in this link.

Some of the clearer thinking senators in the Dewan Negara have criticised the police for stopping the forum for fear of the protests getting unruly. But isn't that getting the whole 'rule of law' thing wrong?

Aren't our nation's law and the police supposed to ensure that law breakers are restrained and law abiders protected? Shouldn't the police have made sure that the mob of protestors be controlled and the forum allowed to carry on?

After all, they issued a permit for the forum but I'm pretty sure the mob didn't bother to stop by the nearest police station and apply for one. I think that giving in to mob pressure, and stopping the forum, is ridiculous. That's like locking innocent citizens in jail because we're afraid they'll be harmed by criminals who are running free.

Shouldn't it be the other way round?

And it never fails me to see how utter geniuses get into the Dewan Negara. Datuk Omar Faudzar asked whether the rule of law should be placed above peace and security.

My dear datuk... the rule of guarantees peace and security. We don't abdicate the rule of law in the hopes that law breakers don't get provoked. We use the rule of law to subdue and restrain those who break the law, so that the end result is peace and security for the rest of us.

Giving in to threats of violence will not result in peace and security. It only results in more threats of violence. It is, in fact, counter productive and undermines peace and security completely. The protestors may have legitimate views but as our PM has said before, they have to use the right channels to make themselves heard.

We have already let the law breakers achieve their objective by disrupting the forum. Don't let them get away with it as well. Or else it'll be a total walkover. Now's the time for the country's law makers and law enforcers to show some backbone and fulfil the nation's trust in them.

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