KUALA LUMPUR — Police were exercising their legal powers to safeguard public interest when they cancelled a dialogue between Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said the Inspector-General of Police.
Fending off allegations that the move to bar the dialogue was unconstitutional, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said his agency utilising the authority it was given by the Police Act.
He said the police have reason to believe that there was a security risk from allowing the event to take place, based on the complaints and objections against it.
“To charge that the RMP (Royal Malaysia Police) is abusing its powers is preposterous as the RMP have facilitated numerous other debates prior to this,” he said in a statement.
Khalid further argued that the exercise of the discretionary powers granted to the police by the law should not be construed as abusive when it is in response to a potential threat to public safety and welfare.
He then said the police decision to bar the dialogue was made in “good faith”.
The “dialogue” between Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri and the former prime minister had been scheduled for April 7.
Police had initially approved of the event, before withdrawing this yesterday, citing security concerns after 18 police reports were lodged.
Police similarly prohibited an earlier debate between the two in Perak, which the now-cancelled dialogue in Shah Alam was meant to replace.
Both decisions led to allegations that the police were infringing on the civil liberties of both politicians.