Still no permit for August 13 Movement for Change Sarawak rally

Police have yet to decide whether to allow the Movement for Change Sarawak (MoCS) to hold a rally, dubbed “A Walk For Democracy and Reforms,” scheduled here on Aug 13.

Kuching OCPD ACP Mun Kock Keong said at the moment MoCS’ permit application was still under review and that the decision would largely depend on factors such as the fasting month, public sentiments and security.

“We will look into these aspects, but as of now we are still reviewing the permit application,” he told reporters after attending the monthly gathering of the Kuching police here today.

Mun said a decision would be made before Aug 13.

MoCS leader Francis Siah was reported as saying that the proposed red-shirt rally would start either at Padang Merdeka or Kuching Waterfront and then walk to either the Reservoir Park or the State Museum grounds.

Siah defended the rally, saying it was not politically motivated because the movement had never solicited any support from any political party.

Claiming that the rally was a civil society initative, Siah appealed to the police to approve the permit, promising that it would be a peaceful event.

MoCS’ plan to hold the rally has come under fire from several groups, including from 24 Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu grassroots youth leaders who demanded Siah to call it off in respect of the Ramadan month.

Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud has described the move as undermining the mandate given by the people to him and the Barisan Nasional to govern the state.

Earlier in his speech, Mun said although the Kuching crime index from January to June this year showed a declining trend year-on-year, vehicle thefts and house break-ins in Kuching City registered a growing trend.

Without revealing any detail, he said vehicle thefts and house break-ins contributed up to 70 per cent to the overall Kuching crime index.

– Bernama