Ambiga meets the king, agrees to hold indoor rally


Following a meeting with the Agong this afternoon, Bersih 2.0 chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan said the NGO coalition has agreed to hold its July 9 rally in a stadium.

Met outside the national palace after an audience with Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin at Istana Negara, Ambiga said the coalition “will cooperate with the government and accept their offer to have the event in a stadium”.

“Therefore, the rally on the street will not take place (on Saturday).”

The movement does not yet know which stadium will be used. This will be announced at a later date.

“We are very grateful for the (audience with the Agong) and will accept the government offer,” Ambiga added.

A compromise

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had earlier proposed that Bersih holds its demonstration in a stadium rather than on the streets of Kuala Lumpur.

Asked whether the decision reflects a compromise on the part of Bersih, Ambiga said it was, given the circumstances.

She declined to comment further or respond to the barrage of questions from journalists, stressing that she needs to first discuss this with her committee.

“We will give more details in a press conference later,” she said before getting back into her car.

NONEAmbiga, Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Zaid Kamaruddin and national laurate A Samad Said had arrived at the Istana Negara gates about 1.55pm.

The trio had earlier refused comment when approached.

Yesterday, Bersih 2.0 submitted a formal request for an audience during which they intend to explain the movement’s position and seek the Agong’s advice on the rally.

Bersih 2.0 had requested for the audience because the Agong had issued a special statement on Sunday night.

Police: Permit still needed

The Agong had said that, while it is incumbent on the government to fulfill its responsibilities in a “just and wise manner”, street demonstrations would bring more harm than good, even if the original intention is good.

In an immediate response to the meeting between the King and the Bersih 2.0 leaders, inspector general of police Ismail Omar said the police will take the movement’s decision to hold the rally in a stadium under consideration.

In a faxed statement issued at 5.30pm today, Ismail said the police welcome the King’s decree regarding the cancellation of the street rally, and will wait for an official application from the rally organisers as required under Section 27 of the Police Act 1967.

“Whatever decision made in future will always be based on public order and the rakyat’s safety,” he said. – Mkini

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