PENANG, 23 July 2009: MIC Youth coordinator T Mohan and nine others were today detained by police for illegal assembly, after about 50 people gathered here to march to the Komtar building to hand over a memorandum to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng on the Kampung Buah Pala issue.
The 10, aged between 18 and 49, were held at about 10am in front of a temple on Jalan Datuk Keramat where they had gathered, with some among them having brought along several bullock carts, Penang police chief Datuk Ayub Yaakob said.
He told a news conference that a team of police officers was despatched to the area to disperse the gathering. The group refused to do so, and some of the people began to march towards Komtar, bringing with them the bullock carts.
“The police had no option but to detain the 10 in an effort to disperse the demonstrators in order to maintain public order,” he said.
Ayub said the 10 were brought to the North East District police station for questioning, but the rest of the group gathered in front of the police station, along with the bullock carts, and demanded the release of the detained.
A traffic congestion occurred as curious motorists slowed down to find out why a huge crowd had gathered in front of the police station, he said, adding that the demonstrators dispersed after repeated order by the police.
The demonstration was held in support of Kampung Buah Pala residents who have been ordered to vacate the land after the Federal Court dismissed their appeal to remain in the area which they have been occupying for a long time.
The residents have refused to move out and have asked the Penang government to intervene to resolve the problem.
Ayub advised all quarters not to exploit the issue by holding illegal gatherings and demonstrations, saying the police had so far received 26 reports from various quarters on the issue, including on threats issued to the residents.
The residents have until 3 Aug to move out. Ayub said the police were prepared, and hoped that there would not be any untoward incidents. — Bernama