Friday, July 17, 2009

Protesters want MACC probed, 7 arrested

The police this morning dispersed about 300 protesters who gathered outside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Selangor office in Shah Alam demanding that MACC be investigated for the death of an opposition politician's aide.

As they shouted 'Siasat, siasat, siasat' (investigate, investigate, investigate), top Pakatan Rakyat leaders submitted a protest memorandum to MACC.

The MACC Selangor headquarters was where Teoh Beng Hock, 30, had plunged to his death yesterday after he was interrogated over alleged misuse of state funds.

PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim arrived at 10.20am and gave a short speech to the crowd before entering the building.

"Enough of the cruelty. We have seen a lot of it. We want an explanation from MACC."

Joining Anwar were other top Pakatan leaders including DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

About 10 minutes later, Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel began dispersing the crowd and a scuffle broke out.

At least seven protesters were arrested in the melee. They included Kapar parliamentarian S Manikavasagam (left) and Selangor exco Dr Xavier Jayakumar.

Five others who were arrested are Abdul Razak Ismail, Telai Amblam, Loh Boon Keat, Shaharuddin Abu Bakar and Richard Yap.

All five are aides of Selangor state reps.

Lu Chuan Boon (right), an aide of Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong, was dragged by the police for about 30 metres when he refused to budge and sat on the ground.

However, he fainted while he was being pulled and the police decided to carry him into the MACC building.

Rawang state assemblyperson Gan Pei Nee (left) was beaten on the head while trying to help Lu.

The crowd shouted 'Police violence, police violence' as Lu was pulled away.

By 11am, most of the protesters dispersed under the watchful eyes of Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar.

However, about 100 protesters regrouped at the rear exit of the MACC building.

The riot police formed a cordon around the front entrance of the building.

The seven arrested were taken to Shah Alam's Section 7 police station and were released at about 5.35pm. They will have to report back to the police station on Aug 18.

Anwar calls for royal commission

At 11.15am, Anwar emerged from the building accompanied by Kit Siang, Guan Eng, Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim and PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub.

Anwar told reporters that they met with Selangor MACC director Jaffar Mahad.

"We are saddened by Beng Hock's demise and there are mysterious
circumstances which warrant immediate action (such as)
investigations into how MACC conducts interogations," he said.

Anwar also called for a royal commission to look into the incident.

Meanwhile, Khalid said MACC's interrogation over the alleged abuse of constituency funds should now be conducted at the Selangor state secretariat instead.

He added that the Selangor government would cover Teoh's funeral expenses.

Anwar also announced that Pakatan leaders would meet at the PAS headquarters in Kuala Lumpur tonight to discuss further action.

Tentatively, Anwar said a Pakatan rally would be held in Stadium Kelana Jaya at 4.30pm on Sunday.

Teoh's funeral is on Monday at his home town in Alor Gajah, Malacca.

Pakatan leaders meet in PAS HQ

Top party leaders met late tonight at the PAS headquarters in Kuala Lumpur and they reiterated their call for a royal commission to investigate Teoh's death.

Anwar said that Pakatan would also go to the ground to highlight issues of abuse of power, deaths in custody and detention without trial.

The campaign will kicked off on Monday at Teoh's funeral in Malacca, followed by similar activities in Penang and Kuala Lumpur.

This will culminate in the planned anti-Internal Security Act rally in Kuala Lumpur on Aug 1.

The Pakatan meeting was attended by key opposition leaders including PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang.

Anwar also said that Pakatan had resolved to strengthen the coalition's secretariat and its 'shadow cabinet' committee. In an effort to enhance cooperation between the three component parties, the loose opposition alliance will also be setting up a joint election committee.
"The (Pakatan) secretariat needs to make sure that all policy issues are discussed beforehand and any statements that need to be made should show that we all are united (in it)," said Anwar.

"They also need to strengthen the communications and enhance Pakatan blogs and media outlets to ensure that the information reaches the people."

He also said that a special seminar to strengthen Pakatan will be attended by 30 leaders from each party.

When asked whether the new strategies have anything to do with a possible snap general election, he replied: "No. it is not related. We just need to strengthen Pakatan Rakyat."

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