KUALA LUMPUR – The dialogue programme between prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and a non-governmental organisation (NGO) was called off when police received information that it would pose a threat to security and public order, said Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.
He said the order was issued following the presence of two conflicting groups who planned to create a commotion during the dialogue entitled ‘Nothing to Hide’ organised by the Malaysian Volunteer Lawyers Association (SukaGuam) at 10 am at Dewan Tun Hussein Onn, Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here.
“We received the information at the last minute…And I issued the order under Section 103 of the Criminal Procedure Code after receiving the information on threats to security even though the decision was not favoured by the prime minister initially,” he told a news conference here yesterday.
He said after police had studied the information, the threat was found to be serious.
“As we noticed that the organisers were not able to control the situation at the venue, the order to cancel the programme was deemed necessary as there were initial signs of threats to public order and security,” he said.
Khalid however declined to reveal further information on the two groups but pointed out that the information was authentic.
“There is no need for me to say who but suffice to say we have genuine information on the matter and we are monitoring the group…And if necessary, we will take the appropriate action,” he said.
He said despite knowing Najib was prepared to attend the programme, it was felt the security aspect should be given priority.
“The Prime Minister was uncomfortable with my decision but I have to be firm and for the sake of security, I told him I have to cancel it…
“And I told him not to attend as a commotion and unrest may take place which could threaten certain people and may spread outside,” he said.
When asked whether there were threats involving weapons, Khalid however declined to comment for the time being.
Touching on police action in ordering former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, who was speaking at the event, to stop his speech, Khalid said when a program was directed to be cancelled, it meant no activity could proceed.
“And it was my directive (to stop Tun Mahathir from speaking),” he said.
Asked on the allegation that Najib was using the police as a ‘way out’ to avoid attending the dialogue, Khalid said: “No such thing. It was my decision based on the public safety factor.”
He said the directive to cancel the program was not the first time he had carried it out because he had previously cancelled two programs namely the LGBT program and the concert in Bukit Jalil.
“In matters concerning security, it is better for us to prevent it rather than allow something bad to happen before taking action.