The previous week had been hectic, what with the Bersih 2.0 rally and the numerous controversies that cropped up, so it would have been a well-deserved holiday for three aides to Seputeh MP and DAP national organising secretary Teresa Kok (right).
Little did they know that the Bersih 2.0 stigma would continue to trail them all the way to the idyllic hill town.
Teh Hoong Keat, Lan Suet Ling and Chin Kah Wai, along with a friend, had planned on a two- day, one-night stay in Cameron Highlands last Saturday to stretch their legs and possibly even go jungle trekking.
However, by the time the night was over, they had lost all desire to finish their holiday.
Teh said they adjourned to the girls' room to hang out after dinner and visiting the night market, when a hotel employee knocked on their door about 12.45am.
"They asked us to change rooms because a family was staying next door and we may have been a bit noisy,” he said.
"By that time, I think he saw us wearing Bersih T-shirts in the room. After we changed rooms, about 10 minutes later someone started knocking loudly on our door.”
When they opened the door, at least 13 people who were waiting outside had barged into their room without identifying themselves, Teh (left) said.
"I asked them who they were, and one of them showed his ID, a chief inspector Basar Safar. He said the hotel management had called the police to tell them there was a group of people wearing Bersih T-shirts."
Teh said Basar had asked the group to follow the police back to Cameron Highlands district police headquarters, only giving the reason that it was a "public security issue".
'Nearly three hours wasted'
The group had initially argued against going to the police station, but had little choice as all their MyKads were being held by a female officer, who told them they would only get the documents back at the station, said Teh.
Lan (left) said they were also told to ride in the police car to the station, where they were then made to wait for two hours without any instructions after reaching there at 1am.
"They just made us wait at a side hall, where there were a few sofas. We waited and did nothing. We thought they wanted to take our statements, but they did nothing.
"By 3am, the same chief inspector came and told us we were free to go. We asked if we had anything to sign, and he said no and even returned our T-shirts to us. He told us, 'you pakailah sesuka hati kamu' (wear it however you wish).”
The ordeal however did not end there, as they had to wait at least another half-hour for the officers to send them back to the hotel, fighting back the chilly night air in just T-shirts and shorts, Lan added.
Teh said the police action was sheer injustice and an invasion of their privacy, stressing that nowhere in the law does it state that the Bersih 2.0 T-shirt is illegal.
Lan however pointed out that they chose to only wear the T-shirt in their hotel room as they acknowledge that this is still a sensitive matter.
DAP's Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng(right), who was acting as legal counsel for the trio, indicated that they will probably not take any legal action over the weekend fiasco.
"Since Malaysia is now a police state, suing the police would be a waste of time and money," he said at a press conference earlier.
An officer from the Cameron Highlands police headquarters today confirmed the case, but stressed that the quartet were not arrested.
The senior officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they did not infringe on the privacy of the four as Bersih has been declared an illegal organisation and wearing a Bersih T-shirt is not allowed.
“You cannot wear it outdoors or indoors, even as pajamas,” the officer said, adding that they decided to release the four unconditionally as they were not involved in an illegal assembly.
Prior to this incident, police had arrested five Pakatan Rakyat leaders across the country last week for wearing Bersih T-shirts, including DAP's Bakri MP Er Teck Hwa.
My friends, this is the hotel that squealed on their guests. For my next holiday to Camerons, I will definitely be staying at another hotel. I certainly do not want police to start knocking on my door at 3.00 am in the morning and hauling me to the station for questioning, just because I wear a Bersih t-shirt, cap, shoe, socks, or pants.
The Cool Point Hotel