Najib said Malaysia was an "open democracy" but protesters have to be peaceful and "not go wild and jump around" in comments that came days after an opposition-backed rally saw thousands of people defy a venue ban and clash with police in the Malaysian capital.
"We practise an open democracy. This means anyone, including the Opposition, can assemble in public as long as they respect the country's laws. But do it peacefully, like civilised people, not go wild and jump around as though you have lost your senses," he said at a meet-the-people session here yesterday.
During the April 28 demonstration demanding electoral reforms, protesters broke through a barricade leading to police firing tear gas and water cannons.
Najib said the Bersih 3.0 rally organisers refused to take up the offer to hold the event at an alternative venue -- a stadium as offered by the government -- because it would be too peaceful for them.
The Prime Minister said there would have been little chaos if the rally was held in a stadium, although this would mean the organisers would not get to appear on international news networks.
"If everyone just sat down peacefully and listened to speeches, it would be no fun for them. They (the organisers) needed to find ways to cause havoc between the protesters and police," Najib added.
Meanwhile, Star online said the police defended their use of tear gas during the Bersih 3.0 rally saying it was not harmful to human health.
Logistics Department (Weaponry) assistant chief director ACP Syed Mustafa Raja Syed Nordin, in a five-minute-long video clip posted at the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) official Facebook page, said the equipment used to disperse protesters was "safe" and "complied with international standards."
In the video, Syed Mustafa showed four different kinds of irritants used during the rally - tear gas grenades, tear gas canisters, liquid eye irritants and pepper spray.
"All these are imported from the United States, Canada and Switzerland. Each complies with international standards set by United Nations (UN)," he said.