Cops, Suhakam to meet over Pantai Batu Buruk clash

Maria J. Dass
KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 13, 2007): The Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) will meet with the police and victims of the Pantai Batu Buruk clash next week and has directed six of its officers stationed in Kuala Terengganu to prepare a report on the incident.

The clash happened at the venue of a public forum organised by Bersih on Saturday (8th Sept) that the police had tried to stop as there was no permit issued. Two people were injured when a plainclothes policeman fired several shots after he was assaulted by a mob.
Bersih is a non-governmental organisation made up of about 26 non-governmental organisations and five political parties- which are pushing for electoral reforms.
Commissioner Datuk Siva Subramaniam Nagaratnam who met with Bersih officials today said: “The report prepared by these officers will be presented to Suhakam Chairman Tan Sri Abu Talib.”
He said the commission will on Sept 19 and 20 meet with the two men in the crowd who were shot, the police and alleged victims of police brutality.
“Suhakam has been monitoring the situation and we will uphold our human rights principals by investigating any human rights violations,” he added.
However, Siva said this was not a guarantee that a public enquiry will be held, as a decision lies with the commission.
Bersih committee member R.Sivarasa said: “Ultimately we hope for a public enquiry as fast as possible and not like the KLCC clashes (between the police and protestors against the petrol price hike) where the enquiry was held months later.”
He also wanted the commission to look into the unfair coverage and defamatory statements made in the media against opposition parties.
Sivarasa, who is also Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice president, said the party had on Sept 12 sent a legal notice to the New Straits times Press (M) Bhd for a defamatory report titled “RM1m damage, 23 held in riot” on Sept 10.
The letter states that the article falsely imputed that PKR organised the ceramah in Batu Buruk and that its supporters were violent and caused the riot. It reiterates that none of the PKR officials were contacted.
The legal notice demands that the PKR statement be published within 48 hours to correct the erroneous facts and defamatory statements.
Updated: 07:25PM Thu, 13 Sep 2007