‘Why lodge a police report if we met all requirements?’

Ng (second right) together with Voon (centre), Foo (second left) and others raise their arms in unison after addressing a press conference at the One Stop Police Centre.

by Karen Bong

KUCHING, July 24: Sarawak Association for Peoples’ Aspirations (Sapa) president Dominique Ng questions why a police report was lodged against him despite fulfilling all requirements under the law for organising the Sarawak Day assembly at Padang Merdeka which was held without incident on Monday (July 22).

“Despite the fact that we have fulfilled all requirements to organise and hold the gathering or assembly programme, a police report was lodged against us. I cannot understand,” he told a press conference outside the One Stop Police Centre at Jalan Simpang Tiga here before having his statement recorded by the police.

Sapa honorary secretary Nurul Hidayah Abu Bakar as well as organising chairman of a similar gathering at Song Kheng Hai field from Sarawak for Sarawakians (S4S) William Manggor and its representative KC Tan were among those summoned to give their statements.

“Until now the police have refused to reveal to me who lodged the police reports,” Ng said.

“This is not a proper investigation because it is uncalled for. I don’t think it is police protocol to handle such activities. This is none other than some kind of intimidation simply because somebody is unhappy somehow for some reason that we held an assembly at the Central Padang,” he added.

He also showed press members some of the documents, permits and letters from relevant authorities including the police and Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) which were obtained prior to the gathering.

“We have also provided them all details including names of speakers as required by the law. In addition, we even gotten the permission from the Sarawak government to use the central padang and St Thomas Cathedral to use the church’s carpark,” he said.

He then shared that they had faced a similar situation last year after organising a peaceful gathering on Sarawak’s rights, also at Padang Merdeka, on April 28.

Ng questioned what was the point of getting all the permission and going through all the procedures, and yet still having to be investigated.

“Unless it is some kind of intidimidation because we have fulfilled everything required in the law. So I do not understand what is the police doing here,” he alleged, while reiterating that the action by the authority was unwarranted.

For the past eight years before Malaysia Day was finally recognised in 2013, Ng emphasised that he has been advocating Sarawak rights and the authority had used the Police Act against him as there was no Peaceful Assembly Act yet.

“Technically, we did commit an offence as we did not have a police permit back then. But now we only need to inform the police seven days before such an activitity is held,” he said.

“Now we organised two gatherings under the Peaceful Assembly Act which all have been granted permissions by the police. Moreover, before the permits were issued we had to attend a lecture here (police headquarters),” he added.

Ng shows a letter from the Chief Minister’s Office giving approval to Sapa to use Padang Merdeka for organising an assembly to celebrate Sarawak Day.

He said precious time and resources of the police and all those implicated were wasted in such action when nothing untoward happened at the assembly.

Ng noted that Parliament had recently amended the Peaceful Assembly Act to allow street protest to be carried out peacefully.

“So why are the police acting like it is still in the old days? The law has changed but the police mentality seems to be stucked,” he said.

“I have nothing against the police force as they have done their jobs very well and professionally. I take the opportunity to thank them for keeping the peace and order at Padang Merdeka on July 22,” he added.

He thus urged the police to give an explaination as to why the organisers of the recent gatherings were called to give a statement when there was no crime involved nor were they suspects of a crime.

Parti Bumi Kenyalang president and former Batu Lintang assemblyman Voon Lee Shan urged the Sarawak government to come up with an executive statement by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg in defending the rights of Sarawakians for celebrating Sarawak Day with a gathering.

“We are the citizens of Sarawak and he (Abang Johari) is our CEO. He should protect us. He should come up with a statement to say that any harrassment by the authorities should not be done,” he said.

“If the authorities persist and keep on doing this, I think the whole of Sarawak or maybe the entire Borneo will rise up against Malaya,” he added.

Lawyer Milton Foo, who was present to support Ng and others, emphasised that law and order of this country must be preserved at all times.

“We cannot allow to see the abuse of powers by any authority to intimidate or surpress the people especially against the people’s movement which is legitimate and has fulfilled the requirements under the law,” he said.

Foo, who is also Sarawak United Peoples’ Party SUPP Youth secretary, was one of the speakers at the Sarawak Day assembly in Song Kheng Hai field. — DayakDaily