Syed Jaymal Zahiid (Malaysiakini.com) | Dec 12, 07 4:27pm
Labour Resource Centre coordinator Abdul Razak Ismail was in the thick of action yesterday, as members of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) were stopped from entering Parliament House to submit a protest memorandum.
He had driven his green Proton Tiara to Parliament House with a key Bersih leader - PKR information head Tian Chua.
As they tried to move past a police roadblock near the building, they were stopped, dragged out of the car and arrested.
The next time Abdul Razak saw his car, the entire front part had been damaged by fire. He suspects that the police did this deliberately.
Police, however, told him that the vehicle had caught fire - due to a short-circuit in the battery - while being towed to the Kuala Lumpur contingent police headquarters in Jalan Hang Tuah.
“The reason is ridiculous. How would the battery short-circuit when the car cannot operate without ignition, and I was holding the car key,” he asked, when contacted.
“This is clearly (a form of) retaliation by the police because we did not cooperate. We gave them a hard time when they wanted to arrest us. And I think the police were even more infuriated when one of them got bitten by Tian.”
Both Abdul Razak and Tian have lodged separate police reports at the contingent police headquarters.
Cause being probed
When contacted, Sargeant Roslan Awang, the operational activities chief with the Tun HS Lee police station, said a report from the Fire and Rescue Services Department is pending.
Police will wait for the cause of the fire to be verified before investigating if there was any foul play involved, he added.
Outside Parliament House yesterday, 26 Bersih leaders and members were arrested but later released after having their particulars recorded.
All roads to the building were blocked, and a heavy police presence was mounted in and around Kuala Lumpur to prevent members from gathering in the vicinity of Parliament - action which was reinforced by a restraining order obtained from the KL Magistrate’s Court.
On Nov 10, Bersih had organised a mass rally in the city, drawing some 40,000 protesters despite prior police intervention. The coalition of 67 NGOs and five opposition parties was able to submit a memorandum for electoral reform to the King’s representative at the national palace.