“There were political detentions during the Mahathir era when the Internal Security Act (ISA) was in force and it was used also against me in 1998. There were no political detentions under the Pak Lah (Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) and Datuk Seri Najib Razak administrations”
PUTRAJAYA: The Home Ministry is open to allowing the Opposition Pakatan Harapan pact to hold a gathering in October if it fulfills the requirements of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.
“The government is open to allowing the gathering if the conditions are met, otherwise the assembly will not be allowed,” said Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Home Minister.
The Pakatan Harapan has expressed its intention to hold a gathering on October 14.
Speaking to reporters after the monthly assembly of the Home Ministry here, Ahmad Zahid said the Barisan Nasional government would not feel threatened by a Pakatan Harapan gathering because the Opposition pact had held the Bersih rallies previously.
“We do not think the gathering will entice the silent majority to join them. We are hopeful that the silent majority will continue to support the government,” he said.
Asked about Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s participation in the rally, Ahmad Zahid said he did not keep to his principles because the Pakatan Harapan chairman had opposed rallies when he was the prime minister and home minister.
“Now, when he is on the other (Opposition) side, he is the main organiser (of the rallies). An individual will always maintain his principles wherever he is or whatever position he holds,” he said.
Asked about a remark in the United States Country Reports on Terrorism 2016 about Malaysia using its national security laws to arrest critics and political opposition, Ahmad Zahid asked reporters who was detained.
When he was informed that it was Maria Chin, the Bersih chairman, who was detained last year, Ahmad Zahid said Chin was detained not because of political differences.
“There were political detentions during the Mahathir era when the Internal Security Act (ISA) was in force and it was used also against me in 1998. There were no political detentions under the Pak Lah (Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) and Datuk Seri Najib Razak administrations.
“Our government is more transparent and open in facing political differences,” he said.