Saturday, August 09, 2008

Disappointing Protest Against Bar Council

I must express my deepest disappointment at the protest led by Kulim-Bandar Baharu Member of Parliament, Zulkifli Noordin on the forum held by the Bar Council to discuss the issue of Article 121 (1A) of the Federal Constitution.

It has been reported that the "protesters, many of whom are from Muslim welfare organsation Perkida and Islamic party PAS, shouted, “Hancur Bar Council” (Crush Bar Council), “Hidup Islam” (Long Live Islam) and “Batal forum” (Cancel the forum). They are carrying placards saying “Jangan cabar Islam” (Don’t challenge Islam) and “Bar Council, Don’t play with fire”.

I am deeply disappointed because the protest is not only misguided, it was also immature and unconstructive. I had issued the following press statement yesterday to emphasize the fact that if even the Bar Council, comprising of members of the legal fraternity, is not allowed to hold open discussions in relation to our constitution and its laws, then it makes a complete mockery of our legal system.

What what probably most ironic was that when the organisers agreed to end the forum early and "when those who attended the forum made their way out of the building, they were greeted with loud boos, obscenities and vulgar words". This type of behaviour certainly makes a mockery of the very religious principles which they claim to want to uphold.

And when asked by Malaysiakini why should the protesters not participate via dialogue and engagement in the forum instead, Zulkifli said that he was open to dialogues but the Bar Council’s intention was to provoke Muslims. “For us, this forum is merely (for) Islam-bashing.”

Well, for me, the statement is absolutely uncalled for, totally unjustified and provocative and completely brainless. If discussing our constitution and our laws is equivalent to "Islam-bashing", then he needs to have his head inspected. The forum did not create the "hoo-haa". It is "leaders" like him who fail to understand simple principles who misleads others into thinking that the whole world is against them.

The group had earlier threatened "many times to storm into the building if the forum was not stopped." In addition, the police had allegedly "found two bottles of alcohol by the building that were believed to be unlit Molotov cocktails."

Well, it appears that this type of thuggish and loutish behaviour is unfortunately not only limited to UMNO Youth.
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