Malaysia

Veteran soldiers flex bottoms at Ambiga

By Shannon Teoh
May 15, 2012
Latest Update: May 15, 2012 09:02 pm

KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 — About 10 retired soldiers exercised their bums this morning in a second protest to take place outside Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan’s Bukit Damansara home here against the April 28 Bersih rally.

The members of the Malay Armed Forces Veterans Association (PVTM) did their “butt exercises” to protest against the Bersih chief for being an “enemy” of the nation.

“We Armed Forces veterans have the right to protest against an ‘enemy’ who tried to smear the nation’s name,” said PVTM president Datuk Mohd Ali Baharom.

Ambiga (picture) came out of her house to meet the veterans and received a placard from them which read “tolak Ambiga Anwar (reject Ambiga Anwar)” referring to Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The placard also had a cartoon of a man in yellow, the colour Bersih has adopted, with his pants down showing his bare bottom above the words “Bersih 3.0 illegal rioters”.

The protest, which took place at 8.30am, is the second demonstration held in front of the former Bar Council president’s home in less than a week.

On Thursday, members of Ikhlas held a “burger protest” after claiming a loss of income amounting to RM200,000 due to tens of thousands rallying in the city centre two weeks ago.

About 10 traders and some individuals dressed in Barisan Nasional (BN) uniform prepared about 200 burgers during their hour-long protest and offered some to Ambiga, who is vegetarian, as well as to reporters covering the event.

But Ambiga told the traders to file their claim for the losses suffered in court instead of holding protests outside her house.

“Is it right to invade privacy of another individual, where privacy has no meaning? I’m not saying they cannot make a claim but they are not entitled to come to my home and behave in this manner.

“I would have to lodge a police report because... this is not about me but the whole neighbourhood and family,” she had said.

Ikhlas is now planning to stage a larger protest with 500 traders on May 24 as they “want the rally organisers to take responsibility for their actions and compensate traders.”

Police have said they will not act against the traders as there is no offence “if you want to sit in front of her house without disrupting other people.”

“They didn’t enter her house, they were in a public space,” Deputy IGP Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar said yesterday, adding that under the recently-enforced Peaceful Assembly Act all parties should be allowed to conduct peaceful gatherings.

The protest by Ikhlas came after chaotic scenes on April 28 when some Bersih supporters breached a barricade around Dataran Merdeka which was set up after police obtained a court order barring the public from the historic square.

The square is normally open to public and is also leased out for government agencies and corporate bodies holding large-scale events.

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.