KUALA LUMPUR, May 4 — The police withdrawal of outrider escorts for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was illegitimate even if the former prime minister attended anti-government events, a PKR lawmaker argued today.
Bagan Serai MP N. Surendran criticised Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar for the justification today and questioned the Inspector-General of Police’s professionalism in the matter.
“The escort was provided in view of Tun Mahathir’s status as a former prime minister of Malaysia and for his safety. It cannot be withdrawn simply because Mahathir attended anti-government events,” Surendran, a lawyer by training, said in a statement.
Surendran pointed out that Dr Mahathir has the constitutional right as a citizen to attend any peaceful anti-government rallies and that it was not within the purview of the police to decide if that is right or wrong.
He also reminded the IGP that the latter had a duty to all Malaysians regardless of their politics and affiliations, and must act impartially in all ongoing political disputes.
“He must not express any opinions on the Citizens Declaration or related matters because these are expressions of political differences or dissent against the existing government or its leaders,” he said.
Khalid today said he withdrew the traffic escort for Dr Mahathir because the former prime minister had attended assemblies he deemed to be unlawful. He further justified the decision by saying Dr Mahathir’s actions were unconstitutional.
These included the former prime minister’s attendance at the Bersih 4 rally last year, a protest against the Goods and Services Tax in April, and the collection of signatures for the Citizens Declaration calling for Datuk Seri Naijb Razak’s resignation.
“How can we escort him to such events? We cannot support it, so, I decided to revoke it,” Khalid said.
But the national police chief clarified that the security detail for Dr Mahathir was not removed, saying the police would never put the former prime minister’s safety at risk.