The British police refused to indulge the Najib government's demand that they ban Bersih-linked protests in London during the Malaysian premier's visit.
By Clare Rewcastle Brown
LONDON: The massive Bersih 2.0 rally in Kuala Lumpur has made Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak an embarrassing guest for the British premier and the Queen this week.
Their respective briefing teams have made both, PM David Cameron and the Queen, well aware of the issue – that Barisan Nasional has been in power for over 50 years, achieving their current status as one of the world’s longest-lasting regimes.
They have also been told that the people who have been criticising the BN regime have ended up being beaten in the streets and locked in jail without charge under the so-called Emergency Ordinance and are without access to their lawyers.
They were also told that in Malaysia people are hauled into detention and treated like “enemies of the state” for wearing the colour yellow and for politely requesting an end to electoral corruption.
It was bad enough having Rupert Murdoch turn up in the middle of the biggest scandal in years over media corruption but entertaining Najib must have been even more uncomfortable for Cameron and the Queen.
Malaysian sympathisers in London have not made it any easier for Najib.
Throughout the week Najib’s British hosts have been constantly reminded of the real nature of their guest. “Flash demos” by demonstrators have sprung outside his various key engagements.
These hardcore demonstrators weren’t going to go away easily and infuriatingly for BN, the British police were less pliant and refused to do anything to budge the demonstrators.
In fact, the local Westminster police acknowledged to the demonstrators that they are constantly pestered by the Malaysian High Commission, who have been asking for information about the locations of the protests and details of the organisers.
Najib’s administration have also tried to demand that the British police ban the protests from taking place.
But the UK is a free country and the police have politely told Najib’s people that they are not prepared to harrass citizens or remove their freedom of expression in order to spare the blushes of a visiting “dignatory”.