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KUALA LUMPUR: THE Bersih group and its political backers yesterday suffered setbacks on morality and perception as scrutiny deepens on the infamous April 28 rally.
The biggest censure against the rally which turned riotous came when the nation’s gathering of leading ulama in Putrajaya decreed that participation in street demonstrations with the propensity of causing unrest and havoc was forbidden (haram) in Islam.
“It is especially forbidden if the purpose of the riot is to overthrow a legitimate government,” said Tan Sri Dr Abdul Shukor Husin, who is chairman of the National Fatwa Council.
Also yesterday: A mother of a policeman on duty at the rally wept as she recounted her anxiety to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
THE cabinet minister who chaired the six-month proceedings of the bipartisan Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms (PSC) has spoken out against the opposition which backed the rally
THE inspector-general of police said police were identifying the culprits and instigators responsible for the violence at the rally and the attempt to “occupy” Dataran Merdeka probably until May 1; and, DEFENCE Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said rally organisers would be held responsible should Saudi Arabia prohibit Malaysians from performing the haj and umrah for any length of time because of illegal gatherings in Mecca and Medina in support
of the April 28 rally.
In Kota Marudu, Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili, who is chairman of the PSC on electoral reforms, said opposition members who took part in Bersih 3.0 were rejecting their own views and proposals on electoral reforms.
“Members of the committee worked hard for six months to come up with 22 recommendations,” he said and pointed out opposition representatives worked hand-in-hand with their Barisan Nasional colleagues to present their thoughts on reforms.
The Kota Marudu member of parliament said PKR, DAP and Pas politicians had undermined the committee's efforts by joining the rally.
They acted "as if they did not agree with the final report of the committee by demanding to table their own minority report", he added.
"Everybody wants fair elections, the government wants it. But what we do not want is people instigating the public to commit offences in achieving their own political agenda."
Ongkili said this when accepting new members into Parti Bersatu Sabah in Kampung Nolotan here over the weekend.
"This (April 28) incident has raised a lot of questions about the intentions behind the rally. Those responsible should not absolve themselves of responsibility and blame the police who were only doing their job."
In Putrajaya, Shukor of the Fatwa Council said after chairing the council's 99th conference (muzakarah) that there were numerous means of airing one's views, which did not result in destruction and losses.
The council also declared that showing support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender movement was also haram.
"Islam forbids any unnatural sexual act and a person who supports such an idea is considered an accomplice. The idea should not be propagated and no fatwa is needed to express why such acts are illegal."
He added that the act of exposing a person's shame to the public was also frowned upon.
"If there is evidence of a person committing an illegal act, then it should be given to the authorities and not be publicly spread."
In Kulim, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said more than 90 photographs of individuals had been released and they were requested to come forward.
"Those found responsible will be dealt with accordingly under the law. Give us time to complete our investigations. After that, we will reveal our investigations and hand them to the public prosecutor for further action."
Speaking after meeting the people, Ismail said police had arrested three individuals.
Present was Kedah police chief Deputy Commissioner Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim.
"We have also received calls from the public who provided us with vital information that can assist us in our investigations. This is a good sign as it shows that the people do not want such disturbances that can create disharmony in the country."
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had on Friday said the government had received information that a group of people wanted to hijack the Bersih rally and occupy Dataran Merdeka for several days, probably until May 1.
He said the group intended to take over Dataran Merdeka for two or three days, or even longer, to show that the government could not control the situation.
He said they had wanted to turn Dataran Merdeka into Egypt's Tahrir Square. Additional reporting by Aisyah Sulaiman