|Pakatan reps arrested, state secretariat blocked|
The Perak Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives are determined to proceed with their planned state assembly sitting today despite a police order barring anyone from gathering at the state secretariat.
Ousted menteri besar Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin and some of the Pakatan state reps started arriving to the state secretariat at about 8.45am. Some 150 supporters were present.
The police meanwhile have thrown a heavy security cordon around the state secretariat with Federal Reserve Unit trucks and water cannon blocking the rear entrance of the building.
The police have also cordoned off the tree under which the last Pakatan-held state assembly was held in March. About 100 police personnel are on standby.
At 9.45am, all the Pakatan representatives and their speaker V Sivakumar began walking from the Perak DAP office towards the state secretariat. They were accompanied by some 50 supporters.
Three reps arrested
When stopped by police, Perak DAP head Ngeh Koo Ham argued with them about the court order prohibiting the gathering.
“The court order says the public cannot be in the vicinity, but is silent on state assemblypersons. It is illegal to stop state assemblypersons fromperforming their duties…
“Furthermore, Section 90 of the Criminal Procedure Code says that such an order must be gazetted.” [See notice on court order]
The group then attempted to march on, but was blocked by a row of riot police. Ngeh was arrested at 10.10am.
Also arrested was Stanley Tan (below), a photographer with Nanyang Siang Pau, who was said to have been kicked in the process.
He had shouted at the police: “You nak kerja, kita pun nak kerja.” (We both have duties to perform.)
Also arrested were Malim Nawar state rep Keshvinder Singh and Simpang Pulai assemblyperson Chang Ming Kai. Three other members of the public were also arrested.
By 10.20am, the Pakatan reps and their supporters retreated to the state DAP headquarters which is located just behind the state secretariat.
Here Sivakumar told reporters that the assembly would be convened at the nearby Heritage Hotel based on the doctrine of necessity.
Nizar meanwhile slammed the police over their high-handed approach in arresting the three state representatives and the others.
“This is the holy month and yet they behave in such manner,” said Nizar.
It was also learned that Keshvinder was hurt in the process of being arrested and has been taken to the Ipoh Hospital for treatment.
Pro-BN crowd arrives
Meanwhile a second group of people – pro-royalist/BN crowd wearing yellow shirts – also started arriving at the area at about 10am, shouting slogans in support of the Barisan Nasional state government, Perak sultan and the state assembly’s sanctity.
The police quickly moved in to disperse this crowd, which they did, but not before unfurling banners just next to the Pakatan supporters.
The banners generally showed support for BN’s Menteri Besar Zambry Abd Kadir and his state government.
“Dr Zambry and BN government are the people’s choice,” read one banner.
Eye-witnesses reported that the police took a much softer approach in dealing with this crowd.
Seeking to set aside order
In another development, Pakatan lawyers applied to the court this morning to set aside the Ipoh Magistrate’s Court order yesterday which prohibits any gathering within a 30m radius of the state secretariat.
The order was obtained by the police to stop the gathering and is effective from 1am today to 11am tomorrow.
Ipoh police chief ACP Azisman Alias said yesterday that only civil servants working in the building would be allowed to enter the building today.
The notice for the meeting today was issued last week by Pakatan’s speaker V Sivakumar, who is also the Tronoh state assemblyperson.
BN’s speaker R Ganesan had however asked state assemblyperson to ignore the notice as it was issued by an illegal source.
Zambry: Pakatan ‘shiok sendiri’
In a statement issued later, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) expressed regret over the alleged assault and arrest of news photographer Tan.
“The photographer was merely carrying out his professional duty. The policeman who is said to have assaulted Tan should know the photographer was wearing his press tag, said NUJ president Norila Daud.
“The policeman’s highhandedness reflects that he has no respect for law,” she added.
Norila urged the police to exercise restraint when carrying out their duty.
Meanwhile, BN Menteri Besar Zambry Abd Kadir has slammed Pakatan for seeking to convene the assembly.
“They are trying to make their own laws and implementing them to ‘shiok sendiri’ (please themselves)…they show total disrespect to the democratic system in the country.
“What they did was to provoke the police …they ask to be arrested and if possible be handcuffed so that it can be published in newspapers. They will then claim they are being oppressed,” he said.