Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan has expressed her gratitude to the police and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), whose officers have painted over the stall lots marked outside her house by petty traders. “To their credit, they (DBKL) have been here non-stop, and so have the police. So I am grateful to them for providing this level of protection,” she said today. She reiterated that she would like to return public attention to Bersih’s calls for clean and fair elections, and urged those with grievances against her to take the matter to court.
On Monday, the Kuala Lumpur Petty Traders Action Council, which claimed to have suffered losses due to the rally, had marked outlots for stalls and put these up for ‘sale’ ahead of a planned two-day protest from tomorrow. However, DBKL painted out the yellow markings about 11pm the same day.
Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, a lawyer who was in the Pakatan delegation, explained to reporters how the protests in front of Ambiga’s residence amount to criminal offences. He referred to the Minor Offences Act and the Penal Code, rebutting deputy police chief’s Khalid Abu Bakar’s assertion that the protests are not criminal offences.
Under Section 14 of the Minor Offences Act, Lim said, a person engaging in insulting behaviour such as the ‘butt exercises' protest by army veterans on May 15 can be fined up to RM100 upon conviction. Under Section 268 of the Penal Code, a person who is being a public nuisance can be slapped with a fine up to RM400.
The marking of lots for stalls can be construed as ‘mischief’, he noted, and would be an offence under Section 425 of the Penal Code. It is punishable by a three-month jail term, a fine, or both. Since DBKL spent part of the night painting over the markings, the damage caused must have also exceeded RM25, Lim said. This is punishable by a two-year jail term, or a fine, or both, under Section 427 of the Penal Code.
“The Deputy IGP must be sent back to (the Police Training Centre) to learn all these Acts,” quipped Lim.
Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, meanwhile, slammed the government over its ‘selective persecution’ in charging three PKR leaders yesterday with offences related to the Bersih 3.0 rally. While party de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, deputy president Azmin Ali and former supreme council member Badrul Hisham Shaharin have been charged, Nurul Izzah said, there has been no action against other protesters - whether at Bersih 3.0 or in front of Ambiga’s house. “Whatever action taken by the police or the Attorney-General’s Chambers has to reflect consistency, proper judicial conduct and justice in general. It saddens me. We are supposed to feel equal under the Malaysian sun,” she said.