PROVIDE SECURITY DETAIL FOR KEY POLITICAL LEADERS

Posted on February 27, 2012

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When Mitt Romney (Republican Party) won one of the primaries to start accumulating delegates to his party’s convention which will select its nominee to contest the presidency of the USA against the incumbent, Obama, it was promptly and publicly announced that he would be provided with a security detail. The practice is that “Secret Service protection is given to each major party’s presidential nominee but can be provided earlier if the Homeland Security Department approves a campaign’s request.”

Malaysia may not have similar protocols, making do with police presence for keeping order at a public event. However, in the light of what is happening in recent days when the car sending the country’s current parliamentary Leader of the Opposition to a political rally was damaged by a sizeable hostile crowd and several other such rallies scheduled to be addressed by other key opposition leaders were physically disrupted, it is time for a very serious look at setting up an official protocol which will explicitly provide effective security for key political leaders of both sides of parliament.

In the light of what has already happened when normal police presence did not seem adequate to prevent such unwelcome mishaps to events involving key political leaders, I add my voice to many other concerned citizens that the present arrangement is simply not sufficient nor assuring enough.

It is not in the interest of national security that we continue with “business as usual” in the matter of security arrangements for key political leaders, whether government or opposition. In the Malaysian context, members of the loyal opposition are especially vulnerable and deprived of what should also be their due as elected representatives of the people whether at federal or state level.

If uncouth and unruly conduct by crowds are allowed a free run as it now seems to many Malaysians, it is not difficult to predict very serious clashes between opposing groups of supporters which will of course compromise national security.

Predictably, government ministers and others will promptly pooh-pooh such views as I am here expressing. Be that as it may, these views of concerned Malaysians must not be so easily dismissed. Government should be served notice that it is fully responsible for the physical safety of key political leaders and by extension the security of those who attend rallies addressed by them.

Government ministers and others may also argue that this will cost additional expenditure that would further tap public funds, the answer is that this would be an expenditure deserving of public funding unlike many others which have been roundly questioned by many Malaysians.

Many Malaysians will breathe a heavy sigh of relief when security is seen to be effectively provided for all key political leaders at rallies attended by many residents in the respective locations and thus, hear for themselves the arguments and platforms of political parties of both sides of the parliamentary divide.

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Posted in: Perspective