Nik Aziz admits giving money to protesters
KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 — Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat admitted yesterday that he gave money to PAS supporters from Kelantan to attend Saturday’s Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur.
The New Straits Times reported that the PAS spiritual adviser had used his own money to pay for the protesters’ food, accommodation and petrol for the rally.
“There is no harm in it. People from my constituency came to see me and said they wanted to go for the gathering but did not have the money,” Nik Aziz (picture) was quoted as saying by the daily.
“Why can’t I give them some money? After all, they are leaving their houses and families to join the gathering.”
The Kelantan mentri besar was responding to reports that participants from the state were fully sponsored by the party.
“I gave my own money. If they want to go, then they should ask from me. They don’t have their own money to go to Kuala Lumpur. They have to pay for their car, the hotel, food,” he said.
Several protesters on Saturday claimed they were provided with transportation, accommodation and RM150 pocket money to attend the rally.
Tens of thousands who attended the electoral reform movement’s third rally in just over four years were dispersed by police with water cannons and tear gas after some rally-goers pushed through the barricade in front of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and tried to rush into Dataran Merdeka.
Angry protestors later attacked a police car which then crashed into at least two people while trying to flee.
After an ambulance took away the injured policemen, the protestors flipped the car over on its side but then fled after tear gas was fired.
Despite most of the crowd dispersing, a pocket of 1,000 demonstrators then engaged in open battle with riot police near Masjid Jamek.
Police also arrested over 500 protestors, about a third of those detained in a similar rally on July 9 last year where a clampdown by the government saw Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration being widely condemned by the international press.