More violence as Umno ‘supporters’ attack PKR bus, Anwar
UPDATED @ 01:11:56 PM 08-03-2013
PETALING JAYA, March 8 — Umno supporters were again linked to yet another attack on Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders and their supporters, this time at a ceramah in Bukit Katil, Malacca last night where a scuffle broke out and a bus carrying Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was pelted with rocks.
PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution told reporters here last night’s violence was the sixth incident, and the second in Malacca, since the federal opposition coalition launched its “Jelajah Merdeka Rakyat (People’s Merdeka Tour)” campaign last year. The Machang MP said Anwar was among those who were hit by glass shards when alleged Umno supporters threw rocks at the bus as it was leaving the ceramah. Several PR supporters, including two police officers, were said to have been injured by the scuffle.
Videos of the fracas were captured and had been posted on video-sharing site YouTube. PAS’s harakahdaily.com posted one video on its site this morning.
“KeAdilan views this incident seriously and urges the police to take sterner action towards the violent acts of these goons who are becoming bolder and more aggressive,” Saifuddin (picture) said.
The incident came amid concerns that violence would erupt at a ceramah in Penang after Umno supporters threatened an attack if PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang attends.
Chua sparked uproar from both sides of the political divide with his statement alleging the Lahad Datu standoff in Sabah, which has claimed the lives of eight police officers, was an Umno conspiracy; some pro-Umno blogs alleged he had described the fallen fighters as “mati katak”, a derogatory Malay expression for unnecessary deaths.
The PKR leader claimed to have since gotten death threats. He also denied the allegations and threatened to sue his detractors.
Today, Saifuddin blamed the police’s “soft” response to previous such incidents for the escalating violence, saying their inaction as well as the silence from the Attorney-General’s Chambers, had encouraged and emboldened Umno supporters to attack their PR counterparts.
“Even though there have been repeated incidents, no legal action has been taken against the thugs,” he said.
Umno president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s silence on the matter could also be construed as “endorsement” for the violence perpetrated by those linked to his party, the PKR leader alleged.
Saifuddin reminded Najib that he and other Barisan Nasional leaders had vowed to observe Transparency International-Malaysia’s election integrity pledge, which, among others, compelled them to play fair in the upcoming polls due by June.
Umno vice-president and Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, who is Najib’s cousin, had previously said that the government should not be held responsible for the actions of the Umno supporters.
Saifuddin urged the police, particularly the Malacca contingent, to be proactive in dealing with the situation and ensure the safety of PR leaders and its supporters in their polls campaign as Election 2013 nears.
“Malacca police chief Datuk Chua Ghee Lye should emulate his colleagues in other states who now appear to be more courageous and firmer in acting on these perpetrators from Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) and not bow down to the pressure and influence of Umno-Barisan Nasional.”