Charles Santiago

Posted by : Unknown | Selasa, 7 Disember 2010 | Published in

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Charles Santiago

MP claims assault by police at Syabas protest

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 07:47 PM PST

Source :- Free Malaysia Today

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

KUALA LUMPUR: Klang DAP lawmaker claimed today he was brutalised by the police at a peaceful protest against water concessionaires Syabas yesterday.

Charles Santiago alleged he was kicked by several police officers as he was helping an elderly person who had stumbled when riot squads stormed on about 500 protesters.

“I was kicked at the leg area when they arrested me as I was helping someone. The police were out of control,” he told a press conference at Parliament lobby.

The peaceful gathering at and around the National Mosque was held to submit a memorandum to the King demanding his intervention in the ongoing debacle on water rights in Selangor.

It was marred by police violence when protesters were teargassed and fired upon with water cannons.

The Selangor government wants to buy over Syabas to continue with its popular water subsidy policy but the latter, backed by the BN-led federal government, refused the offer.

Pakatan Rakyat leaders claim the refusal to be politically motivated. It has led to an impasse which could trigger a possible water supply crisis in the nation’s most industrialised state.

Forty-eight participants were arrested, including several Pakatan lawmakers, but were eventually freed.

Santiago said police storming the National Mosque was a violation of international and domestic laws which prohibits any form of violence in places of worship.

“They have no respect whatsoever for places of worship,” said Santiago. He claimed police also fired rounds of teargas into the mosque.

PAS Kuala Selangor MP Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, one of the leaders at the gathering, condemned the force used on the protesters, describing it as “excessive, unwarranted and unsolicited.”

“They had malicious intentions,” said the first-term PAS lawmaker.

‘Police uncivilised’

Despite the refusal to issue a permit, the police consented to the request for Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim and his executive councillors to meet the King and submit the memorandum.

The consent, said Dzulkefly, was akin to an approval for the gathering. However the police began its crackdown on protesters soon after the group led by Khalid entered the palace vicinity.

“Women and children were among those arrested. It was a peaceful gathering held by the state government and led by a mentri besar. The police was uncivilised,” he said.

Dzulkefly, also a member of PAS central working committee, said he believed the instruction to use force was given by top BN leadership.

Meanwhile, rights group Suaram said the crackdown was an embarrassing episode for Malaysia which sits on the United Nations Human Rights Council.

“The police have shamed us all,” said coordinator Tah Moon Hui.

National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) in its report recently criticised the government for its consistent crackdown on peaceful assemblies.

It also recognised several opposition-organised rallies in the past as being legitimate and peaceful. It further attributed the disturbances solely to the police.

Tah said the Najib administration, amid its flurry of ‘reform’ initiatives, has again failed to show any political will to protect voters’ human right to peacefully assemble.

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