the protest! (read below)
yes sure they were free to protest but they were unruly and aggressive. (read below)
it was those (part) damn mamaks from the komtar traders association again!
but that parti cinta malaysia also had to join in! good, good! let’s kick their ass too at coming GE.
the protest came a day after opposition leader, umno’s azhar was suspended. hmm… what great timing eh. what does this tell?
Nov 2, 10
A group of 100 people representing Balik Pulau residents, Komtar traders and Parti Cinta Malaysia members held a noisy demonstration in front of the Penang state assembly this morning to protest against the water tariff hike, land acquisition in Balik Pulau, and renovations in Komtar which affected businesses.
They demanded to meet with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, but were kept at bay by two locked gates outside the building.
Shouts of “cowards” and “Allahu Akbar” could be heard as they shook the main gate vigorously.
The Penang state assembly had kicked off its session yesterday.
Today, Lim presented the 2011 Budget for Penang in a three-hour session, and did not come out to meet the protestors.
One of the protestors chained himself to the gate, while others cheered him on. The crowd continued to shout obscenities at Lim and other state government officials like Deputy Chief Minister I Mansor Othman and exco member for religious affairs Abdul Malik Abul Kassim.
A placard carried by the demonstrators said: Kami tidak rela tanah kami dijadikan ‘business’ kerajaan negeri (We don’t want our land to used for the state government’s business).
Azian Ariffin, who represented the landowners in Balik Pulau, claimed that the group wanted to meet the chief minister in peace.
According to him, the protesters want to hand over a memorandum to him personally, not through his representative.
He said 29 lots owned by Malays and 12 by Chinese are being reclaimed to make way for an institution of higher learning.
Azian said that none of the landowners want to move out because the land is part of their legacy.
The matter stems from the state government’s acquisition of more than 80ha of land at about RM100 million for an education hub of excellence.
In January, Lim had explained that it is a priority to develop Penang as a “high-tech, creative and innovative knowledge-based economy”.
The project, he said, will attract international schools, university branch campuses, hospitality schools and science centres. Work is due to start in a year or two.
However, the state Umno has objected to the project on the basis that one campus will be that of a Singapore university, that Malay-owned land has been affected, and that compensation has been low.
One protester arrested
Half an hour later, several representatives were allowed into the building to meet Lim in stages to hand over their memorandum.
First to go in were Azian and Penang Pewaris (Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Warisan Ketuanan Melayu) chairperson Shahabuddin Ahmad, to hand over their memorandum protesting the Balik Pulau land acquisition.
This was followed by Penang Umno Youth chief Norman Dhalan, who planned to hand over the senior citizen appreciation programme money, which Umno had collected from the Malay community as they considered the money to be “haram”.
Norman said the money was collected from about 600 people, which amount to about RM23,700. However, he was not certain exactly how much money he would be returning to the state government.
“It was just handed over to me from Umno to be returned to the state government. I am not sure exactly how much I have,” he added.
Special assistant to Mansor, Rezal Huzairi Md Zaki and political secretary to Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy, Satees Muniandy, who met Norman, refused to accept the money, which was in a plastic bag.
Rezal and Satees insisted that the money should be accounted for and a list be provided on the individuals who have returned the money.
Norman was apparently upset that he could not return the money, and a minor skirmish erupted between him and Satees.
Ramasamy, who was later told about the incident, said he would talk to Satees about the matter and lodge a report with the police over the ‘violence’.
‘No prior consultation over renovation’
Meanwhile, Komtar Merchants Association vice-chairperson Mohamad Ghani Abdul Jiman, when met at outside the state assembly compound, expressed anger that the state wanted to renovate Komtar without prior consultation with the traders.
“They do not seem to want to compromise; all we are asking is to give us time until after Chinese New Year but they will not listen,” added Mohamad Ghani, who claimed there were 60 protestors who joined the rally today.
At about 11.30am, the police began issuing warnings to the demonstrators to disperse.
One of the protesters, Ariff Ibrahim (left in pic), who is from Balik Pulau, refused to budge and shouted, “We will continue to defend Malay land.”
He was subsequently arrested and taken to the police station. Ariff had earlier chained himself to the front gate of the assembly.
Earlier, at about 10am, PCM Action Team chief Tham Weng Fatt held a one-man rally at the gate, shouting at the top of his voice that the DAP-led government “had cheated the people”.
He was extremely upset about not being allowed to enter the assembly compound.
“During BN’s rule, anyone can come to the state assembly; even DAP people can be seen eating in the canteen,” he shouted.
“I really regret what I see here today,” he added.
Unruly protestors in contempt of court
Penang state assembly speaker Abdul Halim Hussain has condemned the protest by various groups this morning as being in “contempt” of the House.
He also described the event as being so unruly and noisy that it had disturbed this morning’s proceedings.
Abdul Halim conceded the protestors’ right to demonstrate peacefully and to express their views using the proper channels.
“However those who attended today’s rally were unruly. They shook and pushed the gate to the compound. The gate nearly collapsed,” he told a press conference at the assembly lobby.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, his deputy P Ramasamy and state exco for religious affairs Abdul Malik Abul Kassim were also present.
This morning, some 100 people representing Balik Pulau residents, Komtar traders and Parti Cinta Malaysia members had held a noisy demonstration in front of the state assembly building.
They were upset that they were not allowed to enter the compound to meet Lim, who was presenting the 2011 budget in the House.
Abdul Halim said he has written to state police chief Ayub Yaacob, with a copy to inspector-general of police Ismail Omar, the Home Ministry and Lim.
He is seeking assistance from the police, including the federal reserve unit, to stand by for security at upcoming sittings, including that scheduled for Monday.
Abdul Halim said this was the second such incident, the first being a protest against Lim (left) in May last year when his photograph was set on fire.
“If we allow unruly protestors without police presence, can you imagine what will happen if they gate-crash? … They would be charging into the state assembly while the proceedings are going on.”
Abdul Halim said his office will hand over whatever evidence is available to the police, to help with investigations.
“We have audio recording and CCTV clips to prove their unruly act; we hope for police cooperation,” he added.
‘Evidence of mastermind’
Ramasamy said the police had been informed about today’s protest and should have been present earlier.