On the Beat | By Wong Chun Wai

Wise to let the take its course

In conservative Malaysia, such allegations are viewed
seriously. Morality aside, the political implications are enormous.

The expression of anger and disbelief by his supporters are understandable in
such circumstances.

And now, the sacked Deputy Prime Minister has appeared in public with a bruised
eye. He has alleged that he was punched and slapped by police until he fell

No person in his right mind would condone such actions. If his allegations are
true, then swift action must be taken against the culprit or culprits.

The police have taken the right direction by setting up an independent team to
investigate the allegations.

It is in the interest of the police to ensure that the truth prevails. The
negative pre-trial publicity generated by allegations of police brutality has
been a bad start for the authorities.

Pictures of Anwar with his blue-black left eye have appeared on the front pages
of local and foreign newspapers, marring the charges levelled against

The beating, if true, serves no purpose for the police. Now, the police need to
clear their name and the sooner the investigations are completed, the better it
will be for us.

Many people, including politicians, have been detained under the Internal
Security Act but this is the first time Malaysians have heard of a detainee
being beaten up.

Former ISA detainees, who have written about their experience, talked of
psychological pressure while under detention.

Under the law, the police can detain Anwar up to 60 days before deciding
whether to release him. The usual procedure would be to send the detainee to
Kamunting camp in Taiping.

Anwar alleged that he was beaten on the first day in custody. Malaysians have a
right to be concerned as this is a high-profile case.

In all fairness, it is pertinent for us to note that Anwar was given the opportunity
to let the court hear his complaints against the police. He was also allowed to
lodge a report against the police.

It is natural for Malaysians to speculate how Anwar sustained his injuries but
it is best that let the due process of law take its course.

Similarly, we should let Anwar's team of lawyers, which is said to be the best
in the profession, handle his defence.

Like the allegations of police brutality, we must see the charges against him
as allegations at this point.

It is the job of the police to provide the evidence for prosecutors. That is
how the legal system works, and should be allowed to work without

There should no longer be any concern that Anwar may be denied a fair trial.
Besides the foreign media, representatives of foreign missions have been
present in court.

They will be able to see for themselves how the trial will be conducted under
our British-inherited judicial system 
and handled by mostly British-trained lawyers and judges.

It is easy for us to be distracted along the way. Malaysians now get to read
both local and foreign news reports.

Credit must be given to the government for allowing free circulation of these
foreign reports, despite their distortions.

That is the essense of democracy. We may not agree with what you say but rest
assured we will defend your right to do so.

The Singapore-based CNBC Asia's correspondent here should ask himself why he
still gets to report negatively on Malaysia.

If Malaysia is a third-rate banana republic, he would have been booted out long
ago. He has injected his emotions and prejudices into his stories and
continuously run down the country on every possible issue  in the name of fair reporting.

Although there are no more riots in Kuala Lumpur, that has not stopped the foreign
media, particularly CNN, from using old footages of protests.

In the final analysis, Malaysians will be able to judge for themselves how much
of what they read or see is factually correct.

If they truly uphold the principles of fair play, then Malaysians cannot accept
foreign news reports that refuse to let the Prime Minister be heard as

Objective reporting isn't about emphasis on dissidents and opposition figures
but also the establishment.

It is not for reporters to decide who is right or wrong. Our job is to report
as objectively as possible under the circumstances.

According to the foreign press, the tight security in Kuala Lumpur has turned
the country into a police state.

But for most Malaysians, the visibility of these policemen has given some form
of assurance for us to go about our daily business peacefully.

By Western standards, demonstrations are normal expressions of grievances by
groups of people. Western reporters are therefore perplexed as to why permits
are required for such gatherings.

Many Malaysians, too, are sometimes critical of the authorities. But before we
readily embrace this concept totally, we must not forget that we have a history
of such gatherings becoming racial as they progress.

Young Malaysians should ask themselves whether they can risk allowing the
country to plunge into chaos.

For those of us who have been scarred by the experiences of the past, we see
the need to have a more cautious perspective.

The recent events have shown how difficult it is to run this country. It is
easy to change a leader but more difficult to find someone who can provide real

It is also easy to become a leader of a group or community but to be a leader
of all Malaysians, that's tough.