Datuk Bandar Kuala Lumpur Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail memberi amaran kepada Gabungan Pilihan Raya Bersih dan Adil (BERSIH) dan penyokongnya bahawa tindakan keras akan diambil jika mereka meneruskan hasrat untuk berhimpun di Dataran Merdeka pada 28 April ini.
Bertegas dengan keputusannya tidak membenarkan Dataran Merdeka digunakan untuk perhimpunan tersebut, Ahmad Fuad menegaskan tindakan yang sama akan diambil sepertimana tindakan terhadap kumpulan mahasiswa anti-PTPTN yang 'berkampung' di tempat yang sama.
"Seperti (mahasiswa) anti-PTPTN, contoh yang sama juga kita akan ambil jika mereka melanggar undang-undang.
"Bila tiba masanya, tindakan akan kita ambil...Untuk menjamin keselamatan, kita serah kepada polis... Bagilah kita bekerja juga," katanya dalam sidang media selepas bertemu dengan delegasi BERSIH di pejabatnya hari ini.
Demo anti-PTPTN menyaksikan enam aktivis ditahan polis dan ada barangan mereka dirampas oleh Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur.
Pertemuan hari ini menemui jalan buntu apabila kedua-dua pihak gagal mencapai kata sepakat berhubung lokasi alternatif yang dicadangkan.
BERSIH berkeras mahu tetap berhimpun di Dataran Merdeka, sebaliknya Ahmad Fuad mencadangkan mereka mengubahnya ke Stadium Merdeka - yang terletak kira-kira 1km dari situ.
Ditanya sama DBKL akan menghalang penyokong gabungan itu untuk berhimpun di situ, Ahmad Fuad berkata adalah menjadi tanggungjawab DBKL untuk menjaga Dataran Merdeka dan ia terikat undang-undang yang digunapakai sejak 1992.
"Kita akan berpegang kepada undang-undang yang ada. Dan Akta Perhimpunan Aman yang memberikan (keizinan berhimpun) di tempat-tempat yang tertentu. Tetapi tempat yang tak boleh, itu yang (mereka) nak masuk," katanya.
Ditanya sama Dataran Merdeka akan ditutup pada tarikh tersebut, Ahmad Fuad berkata pihaknya akan berbincang dengan pihak tertentu termasuk pihak polis berhubung perkara itu kerana khuatir akan berlakunya "pertembungan" jika perhimpunan itu diteruskan di situ.
"Kalau berlakunya konfrantasi... Kita kata ia perhimpunan aman, sedangkan orang lain kata bukan perhimpunan aman, jadi ada dilema di situ.
"Jika berkaitan dengan ketenteraman, ia diserahkan kepada polis, kita akan menjaga tempat kita," katanya sambil menambah Dataran Merdeka merupakan tempat kedua popular yang dikunjungi pelancong.
Ahmad Fuad turut membidas rancangan BERSIH yang didakwanya memberi indikasi akan duduk di atas jalan sekiranya DBKL tidak memberi keizinan gabungan itu berhimpun di situ.
"Tadi kata perhimpunan aman... Saya tak fahamlah. Jangan bikin kerja susah (untuk) DBKL. Itu nampak gayanya tak berapa amanlah," katanya sambil menambah ia bakal menimbulkan kemarahan orang awam yang mahu menjalankan aktiviti harian mereka.
Sehubungan itu, Ahmad Fuad mendakwa BERSIH cuba menimbulkan huru-hara kerana tidak mengikut undang-undang yang telah ditetapkan.
"Siapa yang (cuba) timbulkan huru-hara... kita beri alternatif, mereka tak beri alternatif," katanya.- malaysiakini
DBKL to Bersih: Face the music...
Bersih 3.0 supporters at Saturday's Dataran Merdeka sit-in will face the same actions taken against activists who occupied the venue recently, Kuala Lumpur mayor Ahmad Fuad Ismail has warned.
“Action has been taken against those kids at Dataran Merdeka... The same action will taken if you (Bersih supporters) do the same,” Fuad said.
He said this when asked how Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) would react if the Bersih coalition proceeded with its plan to hold the sit-in at the square from 2pm to 4pm.
Fuad said this at a press conference after a one-hour meeting between DBKL and Bersih representatives failed to reach agreement on the venue for the rally.
'In case of chaos, blame Bersih'
"When the time comes, you will know. Don't worry... We are ready. We don't allow them to go to Dataran Merdeka... let us do our job,” he said.
When it was pointed out to him that a confrontation with the Bersih supporters could create chaos, Fuad said should this happen, it is the rally organisers who should be blamed.
"Who creates chaos? They create it because they want to go against the laws and (threaten) to sit on the road. I have given them alternatives but they didn't give me any alternative," he said.
He claimed that Bersih representatives had said during the meeting that rally participants might sit on the roads surrounding the square if Dataran Merdeka is cordoned off.
In recent days, DBKL has conducted several raids on students and activists who have set up a protest camp at Dataran Merdeka for more than a 10 days as part of a campaign for free tertiary education.
Their tents and belongings have been confiscated by DBKL while one out of six arrested have been charged in court.
Bersih: No time to change venue
Prior to Fuad’s press conference, Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan told reporters the coalition still hoped that Fuad would change his mind before Saturday.
Thus, she said, Bersih would stick to its original plan to hold the rally at Dataran Merdeka, despite Fuad had offered them Stadium Merdeka, explaining that there was not enough time to change venue.
"If we change place now, it would cause bigger confusion. People will still gather here (Dataran Merdeka) as well as at Stadium Merdeka.
"It is just too little time to inform people," she said.
"We would be prepared to discuss with the mayor on crowd control and security issues if he changes his mind... We are hoping that we can make it happen," Ambiga added.
DBKL: That's not our fault
Earlier, Fuad told reporters that Ambiga’s argument about the time constraint was a weak excuse not to relocate the rally. He said Bersih has only itself to blame because its official letter to DBKL was only handed on April 19. He said DBKL replied that very day.
"They claimed they had faxed in the letter on April 16 but we didn't receive it. If it is an important letter, why only fax and not hand deliver it to us?
"Hence, the issue of DBKL delaying their request, causing them to have insufficient time to inform their supporters does not arise," he said.
He said Bersih’s argument that DBKL was already informed through an announcement on April 4 of the coalition’s plan to hold a rally there also cannot be accepted.
"That's your intention but it was not official notice... Let's say if I hold a kenduri (feast) but I don't give you any invitation, would you come?"
Fuad: I'm being fair
Fuad also stressed that if Bersih was willing to accept the alternative venue - Stadium Merdeka, which is just 1km away from Dataran Merdeka - he would be willing to hold a joint press conference with Bersih and help publicise the venue change.
"If all of you here report about it, I think the whole world will know."
Fuad further explained that he was in a dilemma because allowing Bersih to use the historic square would cause him to be accused of double standards, breaking the laws and failing to protect the lives of 1.8 million Kuala Lumpur folks from being disrupted.
Previously three organisations - Malay rights group Perkasa, anti-LGBT movement and a Malay traditional marital arts group - had made the same request but all had been rejected, he claimed.
As for the decisions to allow other cultural and sports activities to use the venue, Fuad explained that those events were neutral and nobody would feel uncomfortable with them, unlike Bersih which is opposed by certain quarters of the society.
Furthermore, Dataran Merdeka had been gazetted as a prohibited place for rallies under the new Peaceful Assembly Act 2011, he said.
"If they argue that Dataran Merdeka has historical value, same goes for Stadium Merdeka... Independence declaration was made by (first prime minister) Tunku Abdul Rahman there.
"It is more appropriate (to hold rally there) because it is wide and has many parkings," he elaborated.- malaysiakini
Ambiga: Why offer alternative at eleventh hour?
Electoral reforms pressure group Bersih cannot accept Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) last-minute offer to have the Bersih 3.0 rally at Stadium Merdeka, just three days before the event.
The movement’s co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan told Malaysiakini that DBKL knew well in advance about its intentions to use Dataran Merdeka for the rally this Saturday and could have made an offer much earlier.
“Even their first response to us in April 19 - which was a flat ‘no’ - did not contain any mention of an alternative venue,” said Ambiga when contacted today.
Ambiga explained that although the movement had only officially notified DBKL about their plans on April 19, their intentions were widely known since the announcement on April 4.
Had KL mayor Ahmad Fuad Ismail (right) made the Stadium Merdeka offer much earlier, Bersih would definitely consider it.
“It is a pity that Fuad chose to be caught up in bureaucracy or we could have resolved this,” she said.
Ambiga said this when asked to respond to Fuad, who told a press conference that it was Bersih’s fault if it feels that there was not enough time to change venue.
He said DBKL had received a formal notification only on April 19, stressing that his organisation must follow proper procedures.
Fuad added that Stadium Merdeka, where Independence was declared, was better equipped for such a gathering and is just as symbolic as Dataran Merdeka, where the Union Jack was lowered and replace with the flag of the Federation of Malaya.
When it was pointed out that it was possible to re-direct its supporters to Stadium Merdeka, which is just a kilometre away from Dataran Merdeka, Ambiga said this will pose a logistical problem.
“If we were to announce today that we switching venues just 72 hours ahead of the rally, people will be confused and uninformed.
“We explained to the mayor during the meeting this morning that he will have another problem because people will be in both places.
“Are they proposing that we turn the crowd around and ask them to walk to the stadium? I think that would be a bigger mess. If anything goes wrong, they will blame us.
“We think it would be a logistical nightmare to change. A lot of people will be on the streets. Isn’t this what they want to avoid?” said Ambiga.
On Fuad’s claim that allowing the Bersih rally on Dataran Merdeka would result in him being accused of bias because he had denied similar demands by other groups such as Perkasa, Ambiga said this was a non-issue.
“They have allowed so many events to take place there. At the end of the day, who gets to use Dataran Merdeka is purely at DBKL’s discretion.
“It is a discretion that we are asking him to exercise in our favour,” said Ambiga, adding that Bersih still hopes for DBKL to reconsider its position.- malaysiakini