KL Chaotic, Police Detain 438 People
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 (Bernama) -- There were chaos in several areas in the city when more than 10,000 supporters of the Abolish the ISA movement (GMI) went ahead with their rally to hand over memorandum to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong to abolish the law.
Their disregard to police warning to disperse, forced the security personnel to fire tear gas and water cannons at them, who had gathered in small groups, like at Masjid Jamek, Dataran Merdeka, the National Mosque and along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, including at the Sogo shopping centre.
Attempts by the GMI to hand over the memorandum were, however, unsuccessful.
A total of 438 people, including 38 who are below 18 years old, were detained during the incident. Those detained included 37 women.
"Problems and inconveniences caused to the public, including motorists and traders, when police were doing their duty to maintain public order, are unavoidable," Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan said.
The GMI supporters began converging to the city as early at 7am and gathered at Masjid Jamek, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Raja Laut, Jalan Kinabalu, Dataran Merdeka, before walking towards the Sogo shopping centre at 2pm to proceed to Istana Negara, but was stopped by the police.
Among those seen in the group were Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang.
A group which claimed to support the ISA, Majlis Permuafakatan Ummah (Pewaris), complied with police order and cancelled a gathering it planned to hold at the Central Market.
Its spokesman, Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, said Pewaris would be sending 10 representatives to hand over a memorandum in support of the ISA to the Yang Dipertuan Agong.
"The gathering has been cancelled because we do not want to create a tense situation," he added.
Mohd Khairul, who is also the legal adviser for the Pembela Negara Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations Council (Magaran), was however arrested by the police at 7pm when he attempted to enter the Istana Negara compound to hand over a memorandum to retain the ISA.
Brickfields deputy police chief Supt Azri Abdul Rahman, who confirmed this, said Mohd Khairul Azam would be released after police had recorded his statement.
Several major roads leading to the city centre were closed Saturday to prevent groups supporting as well as opposing the ISA from holding illegal assemblies, causing a massive traffic jam
Traders in Jalan Masjid India and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman were affected as they had to close their business.
Ahmad Husin, who has been operating at Masjid India since 15 years ago, regarded those responsible for organising the illegal gathering as irresponsible people.
"If they want to do it, find a suitable place as the venue," he added.
A survey to the affected areas at 6.30pm found traders there and at the Sogo shopping centre, which was ordered closed at 1.30pm, resuming their business.
The LRT stations at Bandaraya and Masjid Jamek were alco closed temporarily from 1.55pm to 6.20pm because of the incident.
"The stations are back in operation. We had to close them earlier because of security reasons," RapidKL general manager of communications Ebi Azly Abdullah said.
Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Wira Mohammad Sabtu Osman said police would investigate opposition leaders who had delivered a speech in front of the GMI supporters at the PAS headquarters at Jalan Raja Laut at about 3.55pm.
They included PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang, Lim, Anwar, Terengganu PAS Commissioner Datuk Mustafa Ali and PKR vice-president Tian Chua.
Mohammad Sabtu said the situation in the city now was under control.