Senior Opposition Leaders Among 29 Arrested For Illegal Assembly

December 12, 2007 01:07 AM       
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 (Bernama) — The police have arrested 29 people, including Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) secretary-general Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and PKR information chief Tian Chua, for gathering illegally in front of the Parliament building here today.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Ismail Omar, when contacted by Bernama, confirmed the arrests.
He said those arrested were from opposition parties and non-governmental organisations and that they had defied a court order prohibiting the illegal assembly.
Among the others arrested were PAS treasurer Mohd Hatta Ramli and PAS central committee member Dr Lo’Lo Ghazali.
Meanwhile, five more representatives of opposition leaders and NGOs headed by PAS elections director Datuk Mustafa Ali were also arrested after they entered Parliament House without permission to hand over a memorandum to members of parliament calling for the rejection of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2007 which extends by one year to 66 years the retirement age of members of the Election Commission (EC).
Others were Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) executive director Yap Swee Seng, a member of the Writers Alliance of Media Independence Wong Chin Huat, founder of Community Communication Centre Mein Lor, and Centre for Independent Journalism executive director V. Gayathry.
They were also among those who participated in an illegal gathering organised by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) in the federal capital on Nov 10.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz, when asked about the matter, said the police had the right to arrest anyone within the compound of Parliament if they were found to be a threat to security.
He said that the group which entered the Parliament building had been given entry passes and were the guests of Salahuddin Ayub (PAS-Kubang Kerian) but they were found to have intruded into Parliament’s security zone and insisted on handing over the memorandum.
Nazri said the group had also failed to inform him, as minister in charge of Parliament, about their real intention in going into the august house.
The four of them, who were arrested at 1pm in front of the main entrance to Parliament House, did not put up a struggle when they were placed under arrest by policemen in mufti.
However, Mustafa, a former member of parliament, who was arrested 45 minutes later while he was exiting the Parliament building, was seen struggling with and shoving the policemen before he was arrested and taken away in a van.
Among the opposition members of parliament who were with Mustafa and who were seen objecting to the police action were Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang, M.Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Timur), Teresa Kok (DAP-Seputeh) and Chong Eng (DAP-Bukit Mertajam).
The memorandum was in relation to the Dewan Rakyat sitting today to approve the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2007.
The bill was passed by a majority of 189 votes.
Those arrested were taken to the Kuala Lumpur police contingent headquarters to have their statements recorded.
They were released in stages from noon to night.
Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department Deputy Director I Datuk Acryl Sani, when contacted, said they were released unconditionally with police bail for a week.
“They will be charged in court next Tuesday,” he said.
Last night, the police obtained a court order to stop Bersih supporters from gathering at the Parliament building to hand over the memorandum.
Following the gathering, several roads around the federal capital experienced massive traffic jams this morning, including the road from Selayang heading here as well as Jalan Kuching, Jalan Ampang, Jalan Dato Onn, Jalan Maharajalela, Jalan Pudu and Jalan Sungai Besi.