Idris Buang elaborates why forum with Lo had to be postponed

Datuk Idris Buang

KUCHING, March 17: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) information chief Dato Idris Buang said the much-awaited forum between him and Malaysia Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak secretary Andrew Lo scheduled to take place yesterday (March 16) was not cancelled but postponed.

Idris said the police intervened as its organiser, Rise of Sarawak Efforts (Rose), did not comply with the law; hence, they have to wait for a new date to be fixed.

He said the forum with Lo was necessary so that both parties could resolve the matter professionally based on the ‘Rule of Law’ and not ‘Cincai Cincai’ or ‘Law of the Jungle’.

‘This is the meeting that I wanted and was hoping for but, unfortunately, even before the forum started, the police intervened and informed me and the organiser that if the forum continued at the middle of the shopping mall without their permission, then it is an unlawful gathering.

“This act will allow the police to investigate the organiser and those concern, including myself, as a panel member,” he said in a statement today.

Idris said the police also told him that legal action could be taken against unlawful gathering under Section 9 of the Unlawful Gathering Act 2012, which provides for a maximum fine of RM10,000 upon conviction.

“I can be removed from my position as an elected representative of Muara Tuang and as a member of the State Legislative Assembly if I am fined RM2,000 or more. This law is enshrined in State and Federal Constitutions and that is the risk of the matter.”

He said the police suggested that the forum be postponed to another date.

“Is it worth it for not listening to their advice? And if we don’t listen to the police, will the court take it lightly on our misconduct?”

Idris believed the court would take stern action and fined all of them, which would include all of Rose’s officials, Lo and himself.

“The court will sure take stern action against our misconduct, especially if there is a fight and chaos. There is no guarantee in terms of security, which is very important.

“The police permit must be obtained 10 days prior to the event. The security of a public domain is of grave concern to the police. They cannot give assurance as there was no application for a permit by the organiser.

“Do I need to show my ego over the matter and disobey the professional advice of the police?”

Idris said he was surprised by Lo’s comment that was published in DayakDaily, where he urged Idris to use his position as an elected representative to seek police permission to allow the forum to go on without a police permit.

“To me, the call is wrong. It only shows a person’s lack of knowledge and experience in police work and criminal law.”

Idris said if he had done so, he would be breaking the law by belittling police work

“The call made by Lo can downgrade himself for being not professional. Who am I to tell the police to close an eye towards a wrongdoing that is obvious to them? Later, there will be a perception that we are bribing the police.”

Idris thanked the police for their advice but said he felt disappointed with the organiser. He said he also felt aggrieved and surprised by Lo’s call.

“To those who don’t understand the truth, do read this explanation thoroughly and do your research to the relevant Acts of the laws.

“If we are fined more than RM2,000, the organiser and Lo can go back happily after paying their fine, but what about me? What about the risk?

“I will be the person getting the worst out of it as I will be removed from my seat as an elected representative of Muara Tuang and as a member of the State Legislative Assembly. A by-election will be carried and, as a result, millions of Ringgit of public money will be used for the polls.”

Idris said it was better for that money to be used for the people of Sarawak, including those in Muara Tuang, instead of for carrying out a by-election.

“Imagine a by-election needs to be carried out just to satisfy the ego due to making a rushed decision in having a forum as requested by Lo and the organiser. I hope those who read this will understand and those who don’t understand to remain in silence.”

Idris urged everybody to be silent on the matter first and avoid making comments to insult him or others.

“Let us all wait for the new date for the forum, and I promise, in God’s name, that I will be present so that we all can contribute positive results for the betterment of Sarawak, in general.

“I hope that the organiser will be more professional, fair and not one-sided in accordance to universal rules and guidelines of holding forums so that there is a decorum, not swaying digression from the topic, honesty and fair play by all involved, including the audience.” — DayakDaily