A college student has been arrested over the antics of some participants at the countdown event at Dataran Merdeka on Merdeka Day eve.
The 19-year-old male third-year student from Batu Pahat, Johor was arrested at a college in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, at noon.
According to Kwong Wah Daily , the student is accused of pointing his bare buttocks at photographs of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor during the event.
According to Star Online , a tip-off from the public led to the arrest and the student would be held at the Dang Wangi police station for questioning.
"The police also spoke to two other witnesses who were there during the event," said Bukit Aman's CID principal assistant director Abdul Jalil Hassan.
The two witnesses are friends of the suspect who recorded the alleged mooning incident on camera.
Abdul Jalil said the suspect skipped classes yesterday due to fear of arrest and he was arrested on the campus today.
May use Sedition Act
The police are reported to be investigating the mooning incident under Section 509 of the Penal Code, which related to a word or gesture intended to insult the modesty of a person.
Upon conviction, an offender can be jailed for up to five years, fined or both.
Abdul Jalil said the police might apply the Sedition Act 1948 as well. This law is due to be repealed and replaced with the Harmony Act.
The youth is the first to be arrested among 11 people sought by the police in connection with the Merdeka Eve celebrations at Dataran Merdeka last Thursday night.
Abdul Jalil said the remaining 10 individuals, who include women, have been identified and he urged them to surrender to police.
The police are also on the lookout for individuals who stepped on photographs of Najib and Rosmah at the same event.
This act is being investigated under Section 290 of the Penal Code for committing a public nuisance and Section 504 of the code for causing an intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of peace.
Civil society groups and Pakatan Rakyat have been blamed for the bad behaviour of some of the participants of the Janji Demokrasi gathering during the Merdeka Eve gathering.
An estimated 10,000 people joined the Janji Demokrasi gathering, which was designed to highlight the unfulfilled promises of the federal government to bring forth true electoral reforms.
'Probe fairly and independently'
Meanwhile, the secretaries of Pakatan Rakyat parties said this afternoon that while police have the right to investigate the incident, they have to do so fairly and independently.
PAS secretary-general Mustafa Ali said Pakatan does not condone any sort of action to demean the country’s leaders.
“However, we urge the police to be fair in their investigations and do not jump to quick conclusions to equate it with the opposition or Pakatan.
“There is a tendency for this to be done... while the matter is still under investigation, the media has been quick to put the blame on us, which is unfair,” Mustafa ( left ) said.
Rasah MP and DAP Socialist Youth secretary Anthony Loke said Pakatan hoped the police would be fair in their investigations.
Loke pointed out previous incidents involving the party secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, where his photographs were burnt and funeral rites were performed.
“However, the police did not investigate or nab those involved in those incidenrts,” he said.
PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar agreed and noted that police did not act against the former army personnel who performed butt exercises outside (Bersih 2.0 chairperson) Ambiga Sreenevasan’s house.
“Such acts are demeaning and should not be condoned, yet there was no arrest. So why are the police quick to jump on the Merdeka Eve antics and not in the other instances as indicated?” she asked.