Malaysia

KL traders plan two-day protest outside Ambiga’s house

Stalls selling cakes and biscuits are seen outside Masjid Jamek in Kuala Lumpur, August 27, 2011. — Picture by Choo Choy MayStalls selling cakes and biscuits are seen outside Masjid Jamek in Kuala Lumpur, August 27, 2011. — Picture by Choo Choy MayKUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — A new group of traders based in the city now want to hold a two-day protest in front of Datuk Amibga Sreenevasan’s house over the loss of income due to the chaotic April 28 rally, despite previous protestors calling off further events at the Bersih chief’s home.

Bernama reported that 60 petty traders are planning to sell household goods, food and drinks from 3.30 to 8pm in front of Ambiga’s Bukit Damansara home this Thursday and Friday.

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

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 on 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 told The Malaysian Insider yesterday any decision on future rallies will not be influenced by these protests.

Bersih supporters, including opposition leaders and lawyers, have been mooting “Bersih 4.0” in the days following the planned April 28 sit-in, claiming this would be the only way to motivate the government into implementing further electoral reforms.

PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu said in a news report on Monday that at least one million people would join “Bersih 4.0” if Putrajaya fails to clean up the polls process as demanded.

He had also pledged his party’s commitment to organising the next Bersih rally, saying it would be necessary if the government did not initiate proper polls reforms before the next general election.

PAS spiritual advisor Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat had also recently said that the Islamist party would organise and facilitate Bersih’s next gathering.

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.

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

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