Ambiga fork-tongued for criticising burger protest, says Berita Harian
KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — Umno-linked Berita Harian accused Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan today of hypocrisy for saying that a group of small traders who set up a burger stall outside her house in protest over the April 28 Bersih rally had invaded her privacy.
In its Minda Pengarang editorial, the Malay daily said the Bersih chief should now “get the message how much the public hated the Bersih gathering.” The Bersih 3.0 sit-in was to call for clean and fair elections especially the clean up of electoral rolls.
“Ambiga (picture) is being fork-tongued, saying one thing and doing another. As a former Bar Council president, Ambiga should understand legal procedure and not breach it. Now that it has hit her on her own nose, she wants to look for all kinds of excuses,” the newspaper said.
Members of the Malaysia Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Alliance (Ikhlas) held the “burger protest” outside Ambiga’s home in Bukit Damansara here on Thursday afternoon after claiming a loss of income amounting to RM200,000 due to tens of thousands rallying for free and fair elections in the city centre from morning to evening two weeks ago.
About 10 traders and some individuals dressed in Barisan Nasional (BN) uniform prepared about 200 burgers during their hour-long protest and offered some to Ambiga, who is vegetarian, as well as reporters covering the event.
They also hung a burger on the gate of her house, which was removed by her bodyguard.
But Ambiga told the traders to file their claim for the losses suffered in court instead of holding protests outside her house.
“Is it right to invade privacy of another individual, where privacy has no meaning? I’m not saying they cannot make a claim but they are not entitled to come to my home and behave in this manner. I would have to lodge a police report because... this is not about me but the whole neighbourhood and family,” she had said.
Ikhlas president Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah had said some 200 traders have submitted about RM200,000 in claims with another RM817,205 outstanding from the previous rally for free and fair elections held in July last year, which it seeks from both Bersih and the Umno Youth’s Patriot group.
Berita Harian said today “all this while Ambiga has not been angry or disappointed with her supporters and herself for disturbing the peace and clogging up traffic across the city which hurt the income of traders.”
“But since two days ago, Ambiga has felt the meaning of anger and disappointment after the group of traders seeking compensation from Bersih opened a burger stall in front of her home,” it added.
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.
Several dozen demonstrators have claimed that they were assaulted by groups of over 10 policemen at a time and visual evidence appears to back their claim but police also point to violence from rally-goers who also attacked a police car.
The police car then crashed into a building before some protestors flipped it on its side.