Bersih organisers thank Malaysia police for their restraint during rally

Members of the Malaysia's riot police stand guard during the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections rally, also known as Bersih, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015.
Members of the Malaysia's riot police stand guard during the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections rally, also known as Bersih, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2015. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The organisers of the Bersih 4 rally have thanked the police for their "minimal involvement" over the weekend.

They praised police for their restraint compared to the three previous Bersih rallies, but said they should have helped in managing security.

"They could have done better with crowd and traffic control. We did that ourselves," said Bersih 2.0 steering committee chairman Maria Chin Abdullah during a press conference at the KL Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on Monday.

Steering committee member New Sin Yew praised the police, saying their conduct was an exemplary form of modern policing.

"This is the first rally where there were no incident, no abuse of power and no police brutality," he said.

Treasurer Masjaliza Hamzah also said that the police's conduct was better than they had anticipated, but the security of the public was their responsibility.

"The big bulk of it fell on us organisers and the people at the rally," she said.

The organisers also thanked former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad for making appearances during the rally, but said they still do not see eye to eye on all issues.

Maria said that she was pleasantly surprised when she was told of Dr Mahathir's visit.

"It's good he came, for someone who has always stood by and said no to street protests.

"Perhaps he has learned his lesson," she said.

Though the organisers saw his involvement as positive, they were quick to point out that Dr Mahathir was not on the same page with all of their demands.

Deputy chairman Sarajun Hoda said Dr Mahathir only showed up because he wanted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's resignation.

"He wants to maintain the Barisan Nasional Government, but we are uncomfortable with this as they have no political will to make the reforms we want.

"I don't think Dr Mahathir was stealing our thunder, but he just came to share the limelight. He can't take that away from us because Bersih supporters are bigger than any political party in Malaysia," he said.