Monday, September 10, 2007

Agent provocateurs instigated rioting: PAS

PAS today claimed that the violence which rocked Kuala Terengganu on Saturday night was instigated by police agent provocateurs. The opposition party also accused political secretary to Internal Security Minister Wan Mohd Farid Wan Salleh of having a hand in it. However, Mohd Farid denied this when contacted later. “I don’t know about any plan. At the time of the rioting, I was chairing a Kuala Terengganu Umno division meeting. I was not involved. The allegations are wrong. I dare to swear by it,” he said. Meanwhile, PAS vice-president Mustafa Ali claimed that they were informed on the night of the ceramah that plainclothes policemen would cause problems. “They would wear a ribbon so that the police can identify them. This was pre-planned,” he told a press conference at the PAS headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. Mustafa further alleged that the agent provocateurs were part of a government sanctioned operation to suppress the opposition in Terengganu. On Saturday, at least 23 people were arrested following a riot in Pantai Batu Buruk, where a ceramah was to be held. The forum was organised by the opposition backed Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) and was part of a nationwide road show. Two PAS members were shot during the rioting, where RM1 million in damages was reported. Terengganu police chief SAC I Ayub Yaakob said police officer Azmi Hussein, 35, fired into the air when he was allegedly set upon by a group of men armed with sticks. According to news reports, the police stated that a single shot was fired while PAS alleged that at least two shots were fired. Suwandi Abdul Ghani, 37, was shot in the chest while Muhamad Azman Aziz, 21, was shot in the neck. Both are reported to be in stable condition. 'Umno leaders involved' “Some people instigated the crowd for this to happen. After the shots was made by this officer who was not in uniform, the situation turned chaotic,” claimed Mustafa. The PAS also leader alleged that the “provocation” was caused by “Umno leaders who were conspiring with the police.” “This was done by people planted there. This was a pre-planned operation and Wan Farid was involved,” he claimed. Mustafa also accused the media of carrying distorted reports on the incident. “That (the reports) is the police’s version. Our version is different. That’s why we are calling for a full investigation.” Also present at the press conference were PKR secretary-general Khalid Ibrahim, former PAS MP Dr Syed Azman Syed Ahmad Nawawi, DAP central executive committee member Ronnie Liu and DAP MP Teresa Kok. Syed Azman alleged that the Bernama photographs published by many dailies were supplied by the police. “The cameras of photographers were confiscated and reporters were barred from entering. The pictures published in the newspapers were from the police,” he claimed. Asked if he had personally witnessed the clash, Mustafa said both he and Khalid were at a house, where the ceramah was supposed to be held. “The riot happened half a kilometre away from the house, where the roadblocks were mounted,” he said, referring to Jalan Sultan Mahmud where over 500 people had gathered. Asked on reports that PAS members threw homemade bombs and Molotov cocktails at the police, Mustafa said: “That is their version.” Dangerous remarks Meanwhile, Khalid said the shooting had “painted a bad image” for Malaysia. “What is frightening to me is the use of live bullets to disperse the community, who came to listen to the ceramah. It was inappropriate and unnecessary,” he added. He also expressed disappointment with news reports that portrayed the rioting as incited by PKR members. “There were many people who came to show their support (for the ceramah),” he said. Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak defended the police, saying it was their duty to ensure law and order is maintained. Commenting on this, Liu said the deputy premier’s remark was “dangerous.” “He is indirectly telling the police that they can act that way. You can continue to do so. Does it mean the whole incident, the government was behind it? I have reason to believe that this was premeditated. Liu also questioned news reports that only a single shot was fired. “How can one bullet wound two men? Is this similar to the magic bullet used in the (John F) Kennedy assassination?” he asked.

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