Saturday, July 9, 2011
He said during the audience with the Agong this Tuesday, His Majesty had allowed them to submit the memorandum on electoral reform today.
"He said 'can'. That is why I followed (the delegation) to submit the petition," Samad (right) told the media during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.
"I had decided to write a letter to the Agong later to inform him that the Agong's readiness to receive the petition was not properly handled by the police...
"It is not my fault but the police's," explained the septuagenarian.
He slammed the violence used by police during the rally, describing it as the fiercest brutality he has ever seen.
“I noticed the shooting of tear gas was random and rough. I saw women fallling and chaos. I have never seen this before.
“Although I had been through the attack of tear gas before, this was the cruellest gas,” he said.
(Samad had joined the March 2009 mass gathering to protest the government's policy on the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English or PPSMI.)
However, Samad complimented the crowd for their ethnic diversity.
“I have never seen before all the races from all walks of life, at almost every place. So I consider not just Malays, not just Chinese, but all Malaysians (had joined the rally),” he added.
According to Bersih 2.0 steering committee member K Arumugam, who was present at the press conference, Samad had marched 8km today with the crowd.
He claimed that Samad had lost his shoes during the havoc and was forced to walk on bare feet until someone gave him a simple pair of slippers which he wore until the end of the rally.
Hundreds of people have been arrested in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, after they defied baton-carrying riot officers and joined thousands of others in attempts to rally in a stadium to demand free and fair elections.
Wearing yellow T-shirts, the colour of poll reforms group Bersih 2.0, which means clean, that organised the Malaysian rally, the group in Hong Kong chanted slogans and submitted a memorandum to the Malaysian consulate.
"We, Malaysians residing in Hong Kong, support Bersih 2.0 call for free and fair elections," spokesman Brandon Tan said, as he condemned the violence by Malaysian police and said he was "very upset" over the mass arrests.
"They should learn from the Hong Kong police. They escorted us, helped us and gave us guidance as we marched through the city," said the 36-year-old.
The rally in Hong Kong was part of a global demonstration simultaneously planned for 30 cities in support of Bersih 2.0, including in Australia, Japan, France, the United States, United Kingdom, South Korea and Taiwan.
Malaysia's opposition made unprecedented gains in 2008 elections against the ruling coalition but said they could have won more if elections rules were fair.
The country's next elections are widely expected to be called early next year.
At least five marches have broke out in Petaling Street, near Daya Bumi Complex, Masjid Jamek, Pudu and Sogo and the police have responded by firing tear gas.LIVE REPORTS
12.20pm: Pudu Plaza - At Jalan Landak, Pudu, some 200 people have started to gather, preparing for the rally.
Police are scattered about, searching the protestors' bags and belongings without any further action.
A small quarrel breaks out between protestors and Pudu security personnel when they try to chase them away.
Some foodstalls and restaurants are still operating, and a durian stall is seen offering protestors a taste of their wares.
DAP leaders who have shown up include Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun, PJ Utara MP Tony Pua, Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching, Bukit Bendera MP Liew Ching Tong, Segambut MP Lim Lip Éng, Beruas MP Ngeh Koo Ham, Selangor exco Ean Yong Hian Wah, Lukut Adun Ean Yong Tin Sin, Pasir Pinjir Adun Thomas Soo, Bahau Adun Teo Kok Seong.
12.45pm: Dataran Merdeka - Police have fired tear gas at a group of protestors who are marching towards the area. The tear gas cannisters landed near the Bar Council building.
This group is believed to have marched from the former KTM headquarters nearby. The crowd is estimated at 1,000 people.
12.50pm: About 3,000 to 4,000 people are marching from Petaling Street in downtown Kuala Lumpur to Stadium Negara.
They are chanting "Bersih, Bersih, Pilihanraya" and "Hidup, Hidup, Rakyat".
Six middle-aged protestors began a rendition of Negaraku, which immediately received a strong response from the crowd, which sing along.
Dr Wong Fort Pin, one of the six singers, said they are celebrating peace.
"We are walking for a better Malaysia," he said.
12.51pm: Hilton Hotel - PKR leaders Nurul Izzah Anwar, Syed Husin Ali, Lateefah Koya arrive in Anwar Ibrahim's hotel room. Local and foreign media are at the lobby.
12.55pm: Pudu Plaza - DAP leader Teresa Kok is defying her ban and leading protesters to start the march towards Merdeka Stadium.
The crowd is shouting, "Bersih, bersih," "Hidup rakyat" , "Rakyat sudah bangun," and "Daulat Tuanku."
The have at press time reached Shaw Parade, with no sign yet of any police interference.
The crowd soon swells to two thousand, with the DAP-led march cleverly sticking to tourist spots at Sungei Wang and Low Yat Plaza past Federal Hotel to foil police action.
They are also sending motorcycle recces to keep them informed of police presence ahead.
1pm: Masjid Jamek- The crowd here has grown to about 1,000 people and the are beginning to march.
Earlier, a student was hit by a tear gas cannister. He refused to have his photograph taken due to his status.
1.10pm: Masjid Negara - The mosque is mostly empty. Some are complaining that the toilets are locked.
1.14pm: A fake Twitter account @bersihrally have appeared, apparently created only at 9.42 this morning.
Claiming to provide "live coverage of the Bersih 2.0 rally, with multiple small groups of volunteers in the field reporting" it has since provided false accounts of the goings-on at the current Bersih 2.0 rally.
Among some of the allegations are looting in Pasar Seni, clashes with the police at KLCC as well as shots being fired in Bangsar.
After being 'outed' by other Twitter users, @bersihrally finally posted a message: "Took you guys long enough to figure it out. I've done my job. Thanks for playing."
1.15pm: Official police figures - 514 arrested. 478 males, 36 females.
1.20pm: Masjid Jamek - There is a standoff here. The growingcrowd continues chanting while the police are awaiting reinforcements.
1.21am: Top Bersih leaders Ambiga Sreenevasan, Haris Ibrahim, Wong Chin Huat and A Samad Said are in Hilton Hotel. They are with politicians William Leong, Kamaruddin Jaafar, Zaid Kamaruddin, Syed Azman Syed Nawawi and Tian Chua. They join Anwar Ibrahim who is in the hotel.
It is confirmed PKR deputy president Azmin Ali has been arrested and was brought to Pulapol (Police Training Centre). Earlier, PAS vice-presidents Mahfuz Omar and Salahuddin Ayub were also arrested.
1.22pm: Petaling Street - The group of a few thousand which is marching to Stadium Negara turn back to Jalan Tan Cheng Lock after encountering a roadblock.
A large group of Sarawakians are chanting 'Hidup Sarawak', receiving applause from the rest.
1.30pm: Malaysia Hotel - About 500 Umno Youth members have gathered at Jalan Bukit Bintang. They are all wearing red T-shirts with the word 'Patriot'. These T-shirts are also being given out to the public, including tourist.
The Umno Youth rally is aided with a pickup truck. Speakers would give speeches from the back of the truck and throw down T-shirts.
Among those present are Umno Youth leaders Arman Azhar, Reezal Merican Naina Merican, Zaki Zahid but there is no sign of the movement's leader Khairy Jamaluddin. His officers insist he will show up later.
The group is currently stationary and chanting "Hancur Bersih" and "Who are me? Patriot!". They narrowly missed a Bersih 2.0 procession by about 10 minutes.
1.33pm: Jalan Tun Perak - PAS leader Dr Hatta Ramli with a loudspeaker tells the crowd of at least 4,000 that party vice-president Mahfuz Omar and about 300 others have been arrested.
"The rakyat's struggle requires sacrifices... Those under 40 here have never seen real democracy in this country," he said.
The crowd reply with "Allahuakbar".
There are traffic marshals from Bersih also directing the crowd to make way for vehicles passing through.
1.35pm: Press statement by IPK KL.
Thus far, 540 people have been arrested (479 male, 58 women, three juvenile) have been arrested for further investigation.
Among the arrested, 11 were wearing yellow Bersih T-shirt and one was wearing a red Patriot T-shirt.
Meanwhile, three individuals believed to be leaders or organisers of the rally were also arrested. They are PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, and party veeps Salahuddin Ayub, Mahfuz Omar.
1.36pm: Hilton Sentral - S Ambiga says, “the cause of Bersih has been achieved, even before we have taken the first step.”
She said the authorities use of force was useless against the people's will. “No matter what right will always prevail.”
Slamming the mass arrests, Ambiga said their original goals of rallying for electoral reform has grown into something bigger as it has stirred emotions amongst “right thinking rakyat”.
“First, it has stirred a sense of outrage against the exhibition of raw power by our government, that seems to be living in a time warp.
“Secondly, it has stirred in us (the desire) to bring back a sense of balance and decency into our government,” she said.
Thirdly, she said the rakyat are beginning to feel empowered to make change, despite police “intimidation”.
“You cannot quell the voices,” she said.
1.38pm: LRT Masjid Jamek - A police officer with loudhailer announced: “Perhimpunan hari in tak ada kebenaran jadi diminta semua bersurai serta merta atau kami suraikan dengan kekerasan.”
The officer also gave three minutes for the crowd to disperse.
This was met with “takbir” and jeers from the crowd, numbering about more than 500 people.
1.40pm: Menara Maybank - Water cannons unleashed on more than 1,000 protestors.
1.43pm: Masjid Jamek - A group of about 10 general duty police officers with gas masks chased after the protesters who ran helter skelter into Masjid India area. [Watch video - 17 sec]
1.44pm: Menara Maybank - Water cannon truck fires at the crowd a second time, this time with chemical laced irritants mixed with blue dye.
Instead of dispersing, the crowd charged forward. Some were seen hitting the water cannon truck with their bare fist.
This was met with another round of tear gas. The tear gas managed to disperse the crowd slowly.
1.52pm: Masjid Jamek - There are at least four police trucks stationed at Masjid Jamek LRT station.
Crowd has been dispersed by the police tear gas for now, but it is expected they will be regrouped later.
1.55pm: It begins raining in Kuala Lumpur.
1.57pm: Malaysia Hotel - Khairy Jamaluddin appears at the Umno Youth rally and gives out a short speech. He said that Bersih 2.0 cannot be supported because it is infiltrated by opposition parties.
He then leads the crowd in a march towards Stadium Merdeka. They will likely bump into the Bersih 2.0 crowd.