Arson suspected in Penang DAP headquarters fire

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Four days after Penang DAP headquarters was splashed with red paint, a stack of newspapers, which was placed outside the building, was set on fire about 3am today.

Komtar assemblyperson Ng Wei Aik, who had been alerted to the fire, said in a Twitter message: “Someone tried 2 torch down DAP Penang HQ around 3am. All the newspapers put outside the HQ have been burnt down. 2nd attack after 4 days.”

When contacted, Ng said the fire was put out by neighbouring residents and the Fire Department in about 20 minutes. This stopped the flames from spreading to other parts of the building.

According to the DAP leader, the residents had contacted the fire fighters, who came to the scene about 15 minutes later.

"A bottle was found, but we cannot determine whether the suspected arsonist had used kerosene to start the fire. The firemen took the bottle away for tests," Ng said.

"A neighbour who lives opposite the building saw a person on a motorcycle leaving the area after the fire was lit."

Ng said the incident was "politically motivated" and that DAP would be lodging a police report on the matter this morning.

Meanwhile, district police chief ACP Gan Kong Meng said police had interviewed an eyewitness who had seen the incident.

According to Bernama , he said the eyewitness had told the police that he saw a suspicious-looking man stop in front of the party's headquarters before lighting a newspaper.

"He said the suspect threw the newspaper into the premises and fled the scene," he was quoted as saying.

Gan added that the case was being investigated under Section 435 of the Penal Code and did not rule out the possibility that the incident was caused by the same suspect in another incident on weekend.

On Sunday, the same headquarters on Jalan Talipon and Ng's service centre on Lorong Seratus Tahun were found splashed with paint .

The entrance doors, gates and floors of both premises were splashed with orange paint, while the signboards with hit with red.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng suggested yesterday that the incidents were probably related to the recent controversy over the Penang Fatwa Council ban on the use of loudspeakers for the recital of Quranic verses at dawn.

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He described the early morning incident as not an accident but "an intentional coordinated act" by persons with political motives.

Police taken to task

Chow took the police to task for failing to make a strong stand on such acts against the party.

"I demand the police immediately investigate and take action on those responsible for this despicable and hateful act," he said at a press conference in Penang today.

"The longer the police delay action, the more it will look like hate crimes against the DAP are permitted," he added.

Chow ( right ), who is a state executive member, called on anyone dissatisfied with the party or state government to voice out their issues through legitimate and civil channels.

He added that the party and state government were open to criticism and ready to engage citizens with genuine concerns.

He blamed the mainstream media controlled by the federal government and its ruling political parties, for ignoring their side of the story.

"We are portrayed as racists and bullies, but we have never ever resorted to violence," he said.

Chow, who is Tanjong MP, condemned the incident strongly, saying the fire could have endangered the lives of others living in adjacent units.

In another development, Chow said he was informed that red paint had also been splashed on the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) building last night or early this morning.

"I am afraid the events are coordinated and sponsored by politically motivated individuals," added the Padang Kota assemblyperson.

Chow said that other incidents in recent months included a dead chicken being hung outside the house of a state lawmaker.

"In view of recent incidents, I view this fire as an intentional and coordinated act by persons with political motives," Chow said.

"The longer the police delay action, the more it will look like hate crimes against the DAP are permitted."

Gan Kong Meng, chief of police in Penang's capital Georgetown, where the incident took place, told AFP that police were investigating the case as suspected arson while still trying to establish a motive.

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