Saturday, November 10, 2007

Transcript of Malaysia's Information Minister's interview with Al Jazeera News on the Bersih Protest.

Below is the transcript of the whole interview. This was shown on Astro Al-Jazeera at 5pm on 10/11/07 but on the repeat on 6pm, it has been censored by Astro.

Here is the video link.

Reporter: Joining us now on the phone is Malaysia's Information Minister, Zainuddin Maidin. Many thanks for joining us. Those were very violent scenes that we saw earlier today. How can you justify the strength of your response to peaceful protests?

ZAM: That-that is your interpretation is violent, it's not violent. Your man, your journalist trying to project and exaggerate more than what actually happened. That-that-that-that's it. We are not the-the and I-I congratulate your journalists behaving like an actor, that-that's it…

Reporter: As you say that, sir, we're watching scenes of protesters being sprayed by chemical-filled water!

Minister: Ya! I am watching! I'm here! You've been trying… trying to do it this - to do this everywhere but in Malaysia people are allowed to, you know? We know our police head our colleague… Police have whatever allowed the procession to go to the Istana Negara, you know? Do police, first police, like, they handle them, they attack them, they… the police don't, don't, don't fire anybody.

Reporter: Our correspondent came back to the office, sir, with chemicals in his eyes!

Minister: You-you-you-you are here with the idea, you are trying to project, what is your mind! You think that we Pakistan, we are Burma, we are Myanmar. You know, that is your thinking! We are different! We are totally different!

Reporter: Well unfortunately when you refuse to let people protest, it does appear so.

Minister: Ya ya we are not like you! You-you have earlier perception, you come here, you want to project us like undemocratic country. This a democratic country!

Reporter: So why can't people protest then, if it's a democratic country?

Minister: Yes, people protest! People do-do… of course they protest. We are allowing protest, and they have demonstrated. But we just trying to disperse them, and then later they-they-they don't wanna disperse, but later our police compromise. They have compromised and allowed them to proceed to Istana Negara! Police, our police have succeeded in handling them gently, right? Why don't you report that? You take the opposition, someone from opposition party you ask him to speak. You don't take from the government, right?

Reporter: Why did you not break up these protests more peacefully?

Minister: Pardon? Pardon? Pardon?

Reporter: Why did you not break up these protests more peacefully?

Minister: I can't hear you. I can't hear you.

Reporter: Why did you not break up these protests more peacefully?

Minister: No we-we are! We… this protest is illegal! We don't want..this… normally…

Reporter: OK, so let me return to my former question. Why is this protest illegal?

Minister: Ya! It's a illegal protest because we have the election in Malaysia. It's no-no point on having a protest! We are allowing to every election… every five years never fail! We are not our like, like Myanmar, not like other country. And, and you are helping this. You Al-Jazeera also is helping this, this forces. The, you know, these forces who are not in passion, who don't believe in democracy!

Reporter: Okay, many thanks for joining us.

Minister: I don't, ya, you, Al-Jazeera, this is, is Al-Jazeera attitude. Right?
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