PUTRAJAYA, Aug 4 (Bernama) -- The opposition rally against the Internal Security Act (ISA) in the federal capital last Saturday, was aimed at provoking the police into invoking the ISA which allowed for detention without trial, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said on Tuesday.
"The police are now handling the matter. They can take whatever action they see fit (against the organisers of the rally) but some people want to provoke the police to ensure they are detained under the ISA.
"Then, they can say, 'See, I told you'. The prime minister himself has given an assurance that the act would be reviewed, and we are in the process of reviewing it.
"The present government has released many who were detained under the act. There was no reason for the rally, actually. It was politically motivated," he told reporters after chairing the National Inter-Ministerial Committee Meeting on the Influenza A (H1N1) Pandemic here.
He said, since an assurance was already given by the top leader in the government, there was no need for the opposition to take to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to champion its cause.
"We need to give a chance for the act to be amended, although it would take a bit of time. It has only been four months since the prime minister took office.
"We need to consult all relevant parties for the amendment to be proper. The opposition just need to be a bit patient.
"The fact that we want to review the act shows that we are responsive to the wishes of the people. But the opposition is using this to their advantage. Any demonstration is not going to solve any problem. We have the parliament and the government is elected by the majority.
"There are various avenues to air grouses but demonstration is certainly not one of them, especially after the prime minister has assured that the act would be reviewed," said Muhyiddin.
On another matter, the deputy prime minister said he had received a lawyer's notice on behalf of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, stating the Opposition leader's intention to sue Muhyiddin for defamation.
"Yes, I have received the lawyer's letter. I have also directed my lawyers to take appropriate action. I will not apologise as I was not lying in making the remark," he said.
Following the anti-ISA rally on Saturday, Muhyiddin had labelled Anwar a traitor. As a result, Anwar wanted a public apology, failing which Muhyiddin would be slapped with a legal suit.
Asked to comment on an editorial in today's Utusan Malaysia, which called on Malays not to be cowards, he said the media was entitled to make its own comments.
"Maybe, they (Utusan Malaysia) felt that many quarters were challenging the rights of the Malays and the Malay Rulers. Whatever it is, we do not want any untoward incident in the country.
"I hope statements would not be race-based. We have been independent for more than 50 years now and live in peace. We show respect towards each other.
Challenging one another is not good for the country. I am not taking sides but just to remind everyone.
"A lot of statements are politically motivated. We need to safeguard the country's peace and stability...that is important," said Muhyiddin.