KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 — An Umno lawmaker called tonight for Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan to be hanged for the “treasonous” act of organising the April 28 Bersih rally for free and fair elections, which the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) has claimed was an attempt to topple the Najib administration.
Sri Gading MP Datuk Mohamad Aziz compared the Bersih chief to leaders of the Al-Ma’unah militants who tried to overthrow the government in 2000 and were eventually sentenced to death by hanging for “waging war against the King,” the first people to be convicted of the offence.
“Shouldn’t we also hang Ambiga (picture) for treason towards the Agong? Traitors should be punished as harshly as possible,” the four-term federal lawmaker told Parliament when debating the supplementary supply bill.
The Tabung Haji director, who has previously accused opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of planning bloodshed and death at the rally, added that he was “willing to spill my blood for this country” to roars of approval from his fellow backbenchers.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has also accused Bersih of an attempted coup and Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has said there were elements in the rally who wanted to instigate death and bloodshed.
The government has set up a panel to investigate the April 28 violence, but the choice of former police chief Tun Hanif Omar, as panel head, has been widely criticised after he compared the movement to communism and accused the organisers of trying to overthrow the government.
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.
Shouldn’t we also hang Ambiga for treason towards the Agong? Traitors should be punished as harshly as possible. — Mohamad Aziz
But her announcement was not heard by most of the crowd who persisted to linger 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 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 attacked a police car.
The Al-Ma’unah group had audaciously stolen weapons from an army camp in July 2000 before finally being cornered and forced to surrender in Sauk, Perak.
Mohamed Amin Mohamed Razali, who led the band of 29 men, was hanged six years later, followed by three other leaders of the terrorist group.
Prior to an earlier Bersih rally held on July 9 last year, a group of Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) activists were also arrested on suspicion of planning to wage war on the King.
The move gained widespread condemnation and the last batch of six PSM leaders were only freed from detention 28 days later before being charged for subversion just days later.