Ahead of the highly-anticipated Bersih 5 rally in the national capital tomorrow, the police have taken in two of its organisers and several supporters while the leader of a rival group, led by Sungai Besar Umno division chief Datuk Seri Jamal Yunos, is reportedly missing.
Among those taken in are: Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah, steering committee member Mandeep Singh; DAP politicians Anthony Loke, Ronnie Liu and Jimmy Wong; Parti Sosialis Malaysia politician S. Arutchelvan; student activist Luqman Nul Hakim Zul Razali; and another person known only as Lee Khai Ming as those under arrest.
The latest addition to the dragnet is activist and executive director of Lensa Anak Muda Malaysia, Safwan Anang, according to PKR communications chief Fahmi Fadzil.
“@SafwanAnang arrested in Janda Baik,” Fahmi tweeted at about 11.30pm, tagging Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh whom he said was a witness to the arrest.
Before Safwan, Universiti Malaya student Anis Syafiqah Mohd Yusof was picked up from her Petaling Jaya house and taken to the Kuala Lumpur police contingent headquarters, according to Bersih 2.0 steering committee member Jay Jay Denis.
“Student leader Anis Syafikah has just been arrested at her house and being brought to IPK KL,” he tweeted.
“You’re going too far… We’ll march tmr,” he added, tagging Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar on his personal Twitter handle KBAB51.
The 24-year-old university student made headlines in August as the face of another street demonstration in the national capital, #TangkapMO1.
Malay daily Berita Harian reported on its website that the police have also scooped up two more men in a seeming crackdown against street demonstrations.
Razali Zakaria, said to be a Red Shirts leader, was picked up at the National Mosque while Ariffin Abu Bakar who also goes by the moniker Ayah Ipin Keramat was nabbed while at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.
Legal aid group Lawyers for Liberty tweeted that Maria is being investigated under Section 124C of the Penal Code, which concerns attempts to carry out an activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy while Mandeep is being probed under Section 147 of the same Act, which is rioting.
Lawyers for Liberty founder and chief Eric Paulsen said that Maria would be detained at the police lock-up in Jinjang while Mandeep would be held separately at the Kuala Lumpur police contingent headquarters.
“Remand at 10 tomorrow,” Paulsen told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
Maria and Mandeep were both taken to the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters in Selangor for further questioning this afternoon after a raid on their office that saw several items confiscated.
“My arrest is an attempt to stop the rally, but I believe in the people’s power. There’s no turning back. We claim success and I still hope to see u all on Saturday. Fight on. Lawan,” the Lawyers for Liberty posted on Twitter, attributing it as a message from Maria.
Jamal was supposed to attend a Red Shirts gathering with some 100 supporters at the National Mosque here this afternoon and was scheduled to hold a news conference after that at 2.30pm but failed to turn up, The Star Online reported.
The news portal cited unnamed sources close to the Umno grassroots leader saying he was “unreachable” as at 5pm, adding that his whereabouts were unknown.
Jamal was a no-show again at 10pm for his second scheduled press conference at the National Mosque, The Star Online reported.
The Star Online cited the Red Shirts secretariat claiming Jamal was keeping a “low profile” for fear of being nabbed by the police ahead of the movement’s counter-rally against Bersih 5, which is also planned to happen at the same time in the city centre tomorrow.
The Bersih 2.0 leaders were detained earlier this afternoon and taken to the Petaling Jaya district police headquarters for further questioning following a raid and confiscation of several items from the electoral watchdog’s office.
DAP MP for Seremban Anthony Loke is being held for sedition over a speech he allegedly made calling for the removal of Datuk Seri Najib Razak as prime minister at the Pakatan Harapan inaugural convention last Saturday.
Bukit Gelugor MP and lawyer Ramkarpal Singh said Loke was arrested after he went to the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman to have his statement recorded earlier today.
He added that Loke was taken to Seremban for further questioning, and that there was a possibility the Seremban MP could he held till Monday.
Liu, a former Pandamaran assemblyman was hauled up by the police for attempting to riot and has been taken to the Kuala Lumpur police contingent headquarters, according to his DAP party mate, Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng in a tweet this evening.
The Star Online reported that another DAP lawmaker Charles Santiago was also questioned earlier today over his participation in two Bersih 5 related functions in Klang.
Apart from Maria, Mandeep, Loke and Liu, it is unknown what the alleged offences for the others are. The police have yet to issue any statement on the arrests or detention of those mentioned.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng condemned the arrests and questioned if the police would crack down on more citing preventive detention, in the run-up to the Bersih 5 rally scheduled to kick off at 10am tomorrow.
“DAP will not be surprised if the police would also arrest some red-shirt leaders to provide some sort of impression of fair-treatment to justify the action against opposition and Bersih leaders,” he said in a statement.
“DAP calls on BN to uphold the principle of peaceful freedom of assembly by allowing those who gather peacefully and acting against those who use violence,” he added.
Source : The Malay Mail Online