ORGANISERS of Sunday’s Nothing to Hide 2.0 forum that turned violent are responsible for the event’s safety and security, and should not blame others for causing the chaos, said Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar.
He said the organisers were subject to the Peaceful Assembly Act, making them responsible for attendees’ safety.
“The Nothing To Hide event is governed by the act, which states that the organisers are in charge of the safety of those attending, and the security of the venue and the event.
“So, it is not good of them to blame the police and others. As the organisers, they should have stated the rules for those attending on what can or cannot be brought to the event, because the responsibility to ensure safety and security is theirs,” Khalid told reporters after an event at the Bukit Aman police headquarters today.
The forum was organised by opposition party Bersatu and was meant to be an open debate between its chairman, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and Prime Minister Najib Razak, who did not attend.
Dr Mahathir was onstage answering questions when shoes were thrown from the crowd in his direction.
Chaos then erupted, with water bottles, chairs and lit flares thrown around the hall as the crowd scrambled.
Khalid said the organisers should have referred to the act and consulted police before proceeding with the event.
Although police were present at the forum, he said, they were only stationed outside the hall as they had not been asked to be present inside.
“Police were not in charge of security at the event. Although officers were present outside the hall, we were not asked to go inside. We took charge of security outside the hall,” said Khalid.
The force has yet to call in the organisers, but the IGP said this would be done.
“At present, we are focusing on those who caused the disturbance. After that, we will call the organisers.
“The organisers should not think that they can get away with it.”
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT