Malaysia

DBKL moves to clean up paint outside Ambiga’s home

KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — City Hall (DBKL) moved in this evening to clean up the road fronting Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan’s house in upscale Damansara Heights here, hours after a group of petty traders defaced the public property with yellow paint.

The Bersih 2.0 co-chairman (picture) told The Malaysian Insider that DBKL’s clean-up crew had arrived at about 7.30pm after her neighbours lodged a complaint over the eyesore.

“They’re finally cleaning up the painted lines outside,” the award-winning lawyer-activist told The Malaysian Insider over the phone, sounding relieved.

“DBKL said ‘People are not allowed to paint on the road’ and therefore they are removing them,” she said.

Earlier today, a new group of petty traders had marked out night market stall lots on the road in bright yellow paint, ahead of their planned two-day protest in front of Ambiga’s house this Thursday and Friday.

The group had blamed the prominent lawyer-activist for what they claimed were losses suffered during the chaotic Bersih 3.0 electoral reforms rally in the capital city on April 28.

Bernama reported yesterday that some 60 petty traders planned to sell household goods, food and drinks from 3.30 to 8pm in front of Ambiga’s home to recoup their purported losses, despite previous protestors calling off further events at the Bersih chief’s home.

“Each of the traders can expect a turnover of between RM300 and RM500 a day by trading there,” the state news agency quoted City Petty Traders Action Council chief Datuk Jamal Md Yunus, who led the team, as saying.

He added at a press conference, which was also attended by representatives from Malay rights NGO Perkasa, that the traders hoped to recoup losses suffered during the Bersih 3.0 rally for free and fair elections, calling their protest “Bersih 4.0 — Cleaning up Bersih 1,2,3.”

City mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail has also shot down the group’s protest stalls outside Ambiga’s house.

He said the Street, Drainage and Building Act 1974 does not allow people to intrude into other people’s territory, and therefore the group should not proceed with its plan.

“They (Bersih 4.0 organisers) must ask for our permission, but we will not allow. People make mistakes and we know they (Bersih 3.0) made mistakes... we should not follow.

“If everybody follows (the mistakes) and ignore the law, what will happen to our country?” Bernama reported Ahmad Fuad telling reporters today.

Jamal also said the group would apply for the necessary permits but would still go ahead if denied.

Another group of traders from the Malaysia Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Alliance (Ikhlas) held a “burger protest” outside the former Bar Council president’s home on May 10, claiming losses of up to RM200,000 due to the rally.

About 10 Ikhlas traders prepared about 200 chicken and beef burgers outside Ambiga’s house and offered some to Ambiga, who is vegetarian and a Hindu.

A group of retired soldiers also went to Ambiga’s house on Tuesday and flexed their bottoms at her, accusing her of being an enemy of the nation.

There was also a reported break-in attempt at the lawyer’s office last Friday.

Ikhlas also promised a larger protest with 500 traders but later cancelled the May 24 event saying they had taught Ambiga a lesson after Bersih said there were no current plans for another rally.

An Indian NGO called WargaAMAN also called off plans to set up “thosai” stalls in front of Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar’s home in response to the deputy police chief’s stand that no action was needed against the “burger protest” as it was not an offence to “sit in front of her house without disrupting other people.”

But Ambiga has said any decision on future rallies will not be influenced by these protests.

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