SHAH ALAM – A credible threat to public safety was the reason that the debate between Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz was cancelled after it was earlier given the go ahead.
Selangor deputy police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Fuad Abdul Latiff said police intelligence showed that there would be certain parties who might cause disturbance, not only on the day itself but on the days leading up to and after the event.
“We came to this conclusion after receiving 18 police reports from not only in Shah Alam but all over Selangor, even from Hulu Selangor.
“That is why we decided that it is best to cancel the debate,” he told a press conference at state police headquarters Sunday.
He said police are investigating reports lodged by individuals who feared for their families and own safety.
Earlier, police had given their approval for the debate, scheduled for April 7, to be held at Karangkraf’s headquarters in Shah Alam. The approval was withdrawn on Saturday.
The debate was to have taken place in Kuala Kangsar on March 25 but Perak police refused to issue a permit.
On Sunday, Dr Mahathir reportedly questioned the decision to cancel the debate on grounds of public order. He said the venue of the debate (Karangkraf headquarters in Shah Alam) is located in an industrial area, and not a residential area.
DCP Mohd Fuad, however, refuted Dr Mahathir’s claim.
“Maybe he can come and visit the area first. There is a residential area close by and there are people (working) in the industrial area as well,” he said.
He added the police reports that had been lodged came not just from that area but from all over Selangor.
Asked of the possibility that the debate would be held in the future, DCP Mohd Fuad said it “is possible” but police “will always put public safety first.”