[Malaysiakini.tv] BMC residents take grouses to Parliament
~ by Soon Li Tsin, Fauwaz Abdul Aziz and S Pathmawathy
A group of residents from Bandar Mahkota Cheras, who turned up in Parliament today, were unsuccessful in their bit to submit a memorandum to Works Minister Mohd Zin Mohamed.
Parliament security had initially stopped about four representatives with visitors' tags from entering the Parliament lobby before several Pakatan Rakyat MPs interfered.
Bandar Mahkota Cheras Open Access Road Committee chairperson Tan Boon Wah was then allowed to go in to hand over to Mohd Zin a memorandum asking the ministry to allow the public to use the access road.
As they failed to meet the minister, the memo was instead submitted to DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang (DAP- Ipoh Timor).
Meanwhile in the House, deputy speaker Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar conveyed the decision of speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia in chamber to reject a motion by Teo Nie Ching (DAP-Serdang) to discuss the BMC barricade fiasco.
“The matter is currently before the courts and the minister had already explained the matter in the House on May 12 and 21,” he said.
Wan Junaidi also told Teo to file another motion following the rejection by Pandikar.
Motion fails to 'satisfy' House speaker
The House broke into an uproar, however, with M Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) saying that the issue must be debated according to Standing Order 18(3) if at least 15 MPs stood up in support of it.
Wan Junaidi's remark that he was not satisfied with the urgency of the issue prompted Khalid Samad (PAS-Shah Alam) to cheekily ask what would satisfy him.
As calls from both sides continued to disrupt the proceedings, the deputy speaker sternly told all the MPs to sit down and said he did not want to hear anything more about the matter.
Expressing her disappointment on this in a press conference later, Teo noted that the court case involves BMC road developer Narajaya Sdn Bhd and Cheras-Kajang Highway concessionaire Grand Saga.
"What I raised is that we must discuss why the police and thugs are beating residents who oppose the blockade.
"This is a current issue and not what was answered by the minister is the past. Parliament should continuously be open to debate and put on record that it is concerned with the people's problems," she said.
Grand Saga has been involved in a long-running dispute over its bid to block a toll-free access road from BMC to the Cheras-Kajang Highway.
The barricade has been rebuilt on several occasions, after being torn down by residents and has resulted in several violent clashes recently between the parties as well the police.
Also present at the press conference, Kulasegaran noted that Parliament had become irrelevant due to its failure to discuss important issues involving the people.
"This morning, it was debating on the money that was spent last December (under the Supplementary Supply Bill). It should be discussing current issues affecting the people.
"Where is Parliament's friendliness? The Dewan Rakyat is for the people (but) where are the people? They are outside and the issues debated inside is irrelevant.
"If those people outside cannot come in, I really want to know what is Parliament for," he asserted.
Others at the press conference were Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut), N Gobalakrishnan (PKR-Padang Serai), Loh Gwo Burne (PKR- Kelana Jaya) and Charles Santiago (DAP-Klang).
Bashed up like lamp-posts
Outside the gates of Parliament, meanwhile, a small group of BMC residents had gathered to lend support the delegation led by Tan.
As about two dozen police personnel from the Dang Wangi and Sentul police districts stood close by, resident CY Lim told reporters that among the group's immediate concern is for the authorities to identify the "blackhand" behind the assault on residents as well as the police' high-handedness.
"We did not bring any weapons with us. It was those (unknown) persons who had parangs with them," said Lim.
A 36-year-old resident who identified herself only as 'Mas' and who injured her arm during the commotion on Tuesday night, described the situation as "a bad nightmare".
There were people "bashing up" the residents, smashing their cars and throwing stones at the residents, said the mother of three.
She also said she could not believe her eyes when she saw Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel smashing their batons against the residents as if they were "lamp posts".
"I've got a phobia of the FRU now because I saw with my own eyes they were bashing up people
"They were just bashing people like lamp posts. I was shocked, stunned," she said (left).
After meeting the group outside, Kit Siang called on Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as well as Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar to get to the bottom of the incidents on Monday and Tuesday night.
"These (incidents) are deplorable. I think both the PM and Home Minister Hamid Albar should give their personal attention because the PM promised reforms after the elections.
"He has heard the voice of the people, particularly on the judiciary, on corruption and the role of the police," he told reporters.
"These two nights have shown there is no political will ... (for) real police reform... and to prevent lawlessness. Clearly, gangsters and thugs would not come to attack people unless they are paid to do so.
"Who paid them is up to the police not only to inquire but (answer the question also as to) why they only stood by and did nothing about it. I think that is deplorable. There should be a full inquiry into this incident," he added.
Police action defended
When asked to comment, Mohd Zin told Malaysiakini that he will release a statement on this after the cabinet meeting tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Syed Hamid defended the police actions and said the residents should lodge police reports for the matter to be investigated.
"It is a longstanding problem where people are making all kinds of assumption. If there were no police, people would be angry but when the police is present and something untoward happens, they will place blame on the police.
"The best way forward is that if there is evidence of the police having acted outside the law to make a report so that we can act accordingly.
"People have to understand that sometimes the police have to act under complex and difficult circumstances," he said.
He also denied that the police had failed to intervene when residents were beaten up by alleged thugs.
"There is no truth in that. I don't think the police will watch people being hit by other people (and do nothing).
Asked if the government will act on this allegation, he said: "Of course we will look into it if there's a report made.
"But if it is simply coming out from the bloggers or from the newspapers and the police's (side of the story) is not given the same highlight as the accusations... you have to be fair and balanced.
"Give them a chance to explain and give them a chance to investigate if there's a report," he told reporters.
SPECIAL REPORT: The Grand Saga in CherasThe above article is taken from Malaysiakini.
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