Monday, April 30, 2012


Reports of Malaysia protest violence worry Australia

The Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr said he's concerned about reports of violence in Malaysia.

Police have fired teargas and water cannons at thousands of protesters demanding electoral reform.

The Australian Independent Senator, Nick Xenophon, witnessed the clashes, and said it's time the Australian Government began to speak out against Malaysia's human rights abuses.

Senator Carr said the Government is monitoring developments.

"I've asked the Australian mission to report on the situation - we're concerned about reports of violence, but I've got to acknowledge this is an issue for the government of Malaysia," he said.

"Australia, in every situation around the world, supports the principle of free and fair elections. But this is a matter for Malaysia".

Protesters freed

Malaysian police said all 471 people arrested during a demonstration for free and fair elections on Saturday, including a senior opposition lawmaker, have been freed.

"We have released all of them," national police spokesman Ramli Yoosuf told wire agency AFP.

Opposition MP Tian Chua from Anwar Ibrahim's Keadilan party was among the group.

Security forces would decide later whether to file charges against the demonstrators, he said.

Police fired tear gas and chemical-laced water on Saturday at thousands of protesters calling for clean elections after some breached into the Merdeka (Independence) Square which had been declared a banned area for demonstrators.

Police estimated at least 30,000 people participated in the rally, while independent Malaysian media put the number at more than twice that.

The street protest - a rare event in Malaysia - was held in the capital Kuala Lumpur by a coalition known as Bersih, or clean, in Malay language.

It is pressing the government to review the country's election system and clean up the electoral roll before the next elections expected in the coming months.

But Prime Minister Najib Razak denied any electoral bias.

"We do not want to be elected through cheating. We are a government chosen by the people," he said.

Speculation is rife that Mr Najib could call polls as early as June, and Bersih is demanding elections be postponed until full reforms are implemented.

No comments:

Post a Comment