|Sivakumar and 7 Pakatan reps arrested in Ipoh|
|Humayun Kabir | May 26, 09 9:28am Malaysiakini.com|
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Eight Perak Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives and six others were arrested by the Ipoh police about 11.25am for alleged illegal assembly.
They were arrested while walking in a procession from the DAP headquarters to the High Court to observe a suit being filed against the BN state government over the sacking of elected village heads.
Among those arrested were ousted assembly speaker V Sivakumar (centre in photo), DAP’s Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran and state assemblypersons Keshwinder Singh (DAP-Malim Nawar), Chan Ming Kai (PKR-Simpang Pulai), Chang Lih Kang (PKR-Teja), Leong Mee Meng (DAP-Jalong), Thomas Su (DAP-Pasir Pinji) and Lim Pek Har (DAP-Menglembu).
In all, those arrested were one DAP parliamentarian, five DAP and two PKR state representatives, two DAP members, Sivakumar’s two bodyguards and two onlookers who were held at a nearby coffee shop.
They have been taken to the Ipoh district police station for investigations.
They were all released at 4.20pm and were received by ousted Pakatan menteri besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.
Kulasegaran told reporters that they were released on police bail and must report back to the Ipoh Magistrate’s Court on June 26.
The group had earlier taken part in the launch of Pakatan’s hunger strike which was officiated by Nizar.
Nizar was not among those arrested as he had left for the High Court for the filing of the suit.
Kulasegaran said that the 14 had continued with their hunger strike during their five-hour detention.
In the latest development, several Pakatan elected representatives and their supporters numbering about 30 continued with their hunger strike at the DAP headquarters at about 5.15pm.
State DAP leader Ngeh Khoo Ham earlier told Malaysiakini that he had lodged a police report on the arrests.
Five arrested earlier, probed for sedition
They are employees of an event management company, and were setting up a canopy at the DAP headquarters in Ipoh when the police arrived about 6am.
They were however released at 5.40pm must also report back to the Ipoh Magistrate’s Court next month.
Perak police chief Zulkefli Abdullah told reporters that statements had been taken from the 14 and that they would be investigated under the Police Act for taking part in an illegal gathering.
As for the five workers, Zulkefli said that they would be investigated under the Sedition Act for putting up a large balloon with the wordings ‘Daulat Tuanku’ and ‘Bubar DUN’ (Dissolve the Assembly).
Earlier this morning, the police seized the huge balloon which was to have been released to mark the beginning of the hunger strike at 10am.
DAP party workers told Malaysiakini that the balloon was specifically made for the event at a cost of about RM2,000.
Pakatan elected representatives were not at the DAP headquarters when the police raid took place.
At about 9.15am, a large contingent of police, including some 20 Federal Reserve Unit personnel, were still stationed outside the DAP office. They prevented anyone from going near the canopy.
However the police stepped aside when Nizar arrived at 10.10am.
Other Pakatan elected representatives soon arrived at the DAP headquarters.
The hunger strike was aimed at persuading the Perak sultan to dissolve the state assembly for snap state elections to be held.
A permit to shake hands?
Earlier, a commotion had erupted between Ipoh City Council officers and Pakatan leaders over the attempt to remove the banner.
A visibly angry state DAP secretary Nga Kor Ming then asked the council officers to grant them some time before dismantling the banner.
A noon deadline was set but the banner was removed at about 11.45am.
Another side-show took shape when Nizar was at the DAP headquarters. A police officer prevented him from shaking hands with the police.
This prompted a supporter to ask: “Do you need permit to shake hands?”
Nizar launched the hunger strike at 10.44am.
In his speech, he said the people of Perak did not want a menteri besar appointed by the court, referring to a Court of Appeal decision last week which recognised his rival, Zambry Abd Kadir, as the menteri besar.
“Surveys show that 90 percent of the people want the dissolution of state assembly,” he said.
“People don’t want a menteri besar elected by the court. They want a menteri besar elected by the people. Whatever decision made by the court, people’s power will make the final decision,” added.
Suit filed against BN
The suit was filed at 11.45am by their lawyer Leong Cheok Keng.
According to them, their term is only to end on July 21, 2010 but had been terminated effective April 16 when Zambry became the menteri besar.
About 80 of the aggrieved village heads and committee members were at the court. They were led by Padang Rengas village head Mohd Ridzuan Asit.
The plaintiffs are seeking orders from the court to quash their dismissal and be reinstated to their posts.
They want an injunction to stop the BN state government from appointing others to their posts.
“We also want the court to stop BN from barring others from using the village community halls, and not limit these to BN’s use only,” said Mohd Ridzuan.
They are further seeking punitive, exemplary and aggravated damages, an investigation into the losses suffered by the village heads and the cost of the action.
Nizar, who was present, left the premises at noon after the filing process was completed.