Updates from ‘citizen journalists’ reporting ‘live’ from outside the MBPJ building in PJ:
2316: “Hahaha… the conditions seem to be like saying you can have a birthday party but no cake and no birthday song.” – kimsng via comments
2225: “What a beautiful day in PJ… We proved to them we are peace-loving anak Bangsa Malaysia.” – Dave via text
2130: Mission accomplished… for tonight at least. The day draws to a close – taking us another step closer to the day when the ISA is finally repealed. Oh, what a joyous day that will be!
2121: The last speaker Edward Ling, 26, has given an outstanding speech. “Everything has to do with politics including daily stuff like the price of petrol,” he says. “They are applying scare tactics – don’t talk politics; don’t light candles. It’s a mockery.”
The crowd of about 300 have just sung the national anthem and are now dispersing.
“The mood is patriotic.” – Participant via text, who is relieved the event has ended without any incident.
2110: Haris is speaking now.
2109: Despite the restrictions, “this is the best vigil so far,” says my contact. More than 200 people are now gathered in front of the MBPJ building, where the lighting is good and there’s plenty of space. “There is a fantastic line-up of speakers who are giving good testimony.” Among them is Din Merican.
The best part has been the sharing given by some of the ordinary people including senior citizens. One senior citizen encourages those gathered to continue doing what they are doing. He equates their struggle to that of Gandhi’s, Martin Luther King’s and other peacemakers’.
Some of those present have candles and are wearing Abolish ISA T-shirts, but a few men believed to be plainclothes security personnel are taking pictures of them, and one by one, the candles are put away…
But so many people have come up to speak and share their testimony and there is a look of happiness on their faces. Someone suggests that every Selangor state government office should have a “No to ISA” sign prominently displayed.
2104: “We are gonna have fun,” says my contact at the scene.
2100: No sign of a police presence.
2055: Teresa has just completed her speech.
2042: Among them is MP Teresa Kok.
2031: The crowd swells to 150 now.
“No kidding, wearing some T-shirts and lighting up the good old white candles have become a threat to security?” – Blog reader via comments
“Torchlights, bolehkah?” – splim via comments
2021: To make matters worse, there are two other functions going on at the Dewan Sivik now; so the car-park is packed. It’s hardly the most conducive venue for a vigil.
The crowd is now moving to a bigger and brighter area. Marina and Gobind, the MP for Puchong, have just arrived. RPK and Haris are also here.
2018: The good news is that a a permit to gather at the carpark of the Dewan Sivik has been approved! Richard Yeoh, a PJ city councillor, has obtained approval from the OCPD to hold a ‘Perhimpunan Mesra Rakyat‘.
But before you leap with joy, the not-so-great news is that the permit comes with 12 conditions. Richard reads out the conditions, some of which are, well, ‘classic’:
- No candles allowed
- No T-shirts showing support for the Abolition of the ISA allowed
- “Penganjur dilarang melakukan sebarang aktiviti yang lain yang melambangkan simpati terhadap tahanan Akta Keselamatan Negara” (Organisers are prohibited from any other activity that suggests sympathy towards ISA detainees!)
- No banners or distribution of leaflets allowed
- No political speeches allowed
The vigil participants are bewildered. They don’t know whether to laugh or to cry!
Interesting concept this: an Abolish ISA candlelight vigil where you are not allowed to have candles, wear “Abolish ISA” T-shirts or express any form of sympathy towards ISA detainees. Malaysian democracy?
2003: Some 70 people have turned up for the vigil today at the carpark of the Dewan Sivik (Civic Centre) in PJ.