DBKL demands Bersih pay RM351,000 in damages over rally
UPDATED @ 06:17:05 PM 19-06-2012
KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — The Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) is claiming RM351, 203.45 in damages from Bersih for the April 28 rally here, just weeks after Putrajaya sent a claim for RM122,000 from the coalition calling for clean and fair elections.
The Malaysian Insider understands a letter of demand was sent to Bersih co-chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan as well as steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah this morning.
The letter, signed by DBKL director Datuk Haji Salleh Yusup, gave the two Bersih leaders 14 days to make the payment, failing which legal action would be initiated.
“Yes, I received the letter of demand this morning. We have referred it to our lawyers and they will be responding to it,” Ambiga told The Malaysian Insider.
A copy of the letter made available to The Malaysian Insider quoted Salleh as saying that the Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28 has caused “chaos” in Kuala Lumpur and damage to public property.
According to the letter, the department of landscape and recreation incurred RM74,552 in losses and RM19,654 to erect steel barriers around Dataran Merdeka.
DBKL’s department of mechanical and electrical engineering sustained RM26, 856.95 in losses while the department of urban transport logged RM5,900 in damages to “signboards and billboards” around the city.
DBKL has also demanded Bersih pay for the overtime costs of its officers who were on duty that day, saying that the accumulated costs for transport, food and drinks amounted to RM224,240.
“Even though you were not allowed by the KL Mayor [and] police to organise the Bersih 3.0 rally in Dataran Merdeka, and even though there was a court order dated April 26... (both of you) still went ahead with the rally on April 28, which went out of control and caused chaos and destruction of public property,” said the letter.
Tens of thousands had thronged the federal capital city’s streets on April 28 for the election watchdog’s third rally for free and fair elections.
The opposition-backed protest had kicked off peacefully but turned chaotic shortly after 3pm when several protesters breached the three-tiered barricades surrounding the historic Dataran Merdeka, which had been blocked off to them via a court order obtained by the police.
A parliamentary reply later said the police fired a total of 967 tear gas canisters and grenades at the crowd, which the Information Ministry estimated to be 22,270 according to pictures taken by state news agency Bernama.