By Ida Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — Lim Guan Eng has slammed Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the police for not acting against protesters who he said “sexually harassed” Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.
The DAP secretary general was referring in a speech last night to Tuesday’s protest in front of the Bersih chief’s house where army veterans flexed their bottoms at her gate.
He also said the authorities failed to act against “gross intrusion of privacy” in that protest and last week’s “burger protest” by traders seeking compensation for losses they claim to have suffered during the April 28 Bersih rally.
“DBKL and the Deputy Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar deserve to be condemned for shaming Malaysia throughout the world by not acting against them.
“They had allowed men to practically sexually harass her, a gross intrusion of privacy and even served beef in front of her house, when they know she is a vegetarian and a Hindu,” the Penang chief minister said.
During last weeks’ protest, about 10 traders from the Malaysia Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Alliance (Ikhlas) prepared about 200 chicken and beef burgers outside Ambiga’s house and offered some to Ambiga (picture), who is vegetarian and a Hindu.
Members of the Malay Armed Forces Veterans Association (PVTM) then did their “butt exercises” to protest against the Bersih chief for being an “enemy” of the nation.
Police have said they will not act against those behind the “burger protest”, saying it was not an offence “if you want to sit in front of her house without disrupting other people.”
“They didn’t enter her house, they were in a public space,” Khalid had said, adding that under the recently-enforced Peaceful Assembly Act all parties should be allowed to conduct peaceful gatherings.
“Barisan Nasional (BN) is now seeking revenge with a tit-for-tat demonstration at her home, a gross intrusion of privacy that is condoned by both DBKL and the police,” Lim added last night.
He pointed out that Ambiga’s only “crime” was to “defy the police and the BN Federal government by being part of Bersih 3.0 (rally)...the largest peaceful gathering in Malaysian history pressing for clean, free and fair elections.”
The Bagan MP also described those who “harrassed her with a burger protest” and the “army veterans who performed a butt dance” as “beyond redemption and it is beneath all decent human beings to even respond to their antics.”
It was reported this week that the police and DBKL had patrolled and kept watch over Ambiga’s house after the two protests.
The protests against Ambiga come after chaotic scenes in Kuala Lumpur on April 28 when police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse Bersih supporters following a breach of the police barricade around Dataran Merdeka.
The April 28 rally that saw tens of thousands gather at six different locations before heading to Dataran Merdeka was peaceful until about 2.30pm when Ambiga asked the crowd to disperse.
But her call was not heard by most of the crowd who persisted around the historic square which the court had already barred to the public over the weekend.
Just before 3pm, some protestors breached the barricade surrounding the landmark, leading police to disperse the crowd with tear gas and water cannons.
Police then continued to pursue the rally-goers down several streets amid chaotic scenes which saw violence from both sides over the next four hours.