In a police report, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng describes the ugly scenes on Sunday, when thugs disrupted the Stop Lynas event at Speakers’ Square.
Police Report By Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng In Komtar, George Town On 28.2.2012.
Following Violent Threats By Their Members, UMNO and Perkasa Personally Responsible If Anything Happens To Me.
Nearly two years ago, the Penang PR state government had set up a Speakers’ Square in Padang Kota Lama to permit not only freedom of speech but also freedom after speech. The Speakers’ Square upholds the spirit of, “I may disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. The Speakers’ Square is for the public to use to allow them to express themselves freely without threats or fear. For this reason the state government has rarely organised any events in Speakers’ corner.
On 26 February 2012, I arrived at 6.30pm in Padang Kota Lama to attend a Himpunan Hijau 2.0 event organised by a Penang NGO Suaram to object to the Lynas rare earth processing plant in Kuantan. Before my arrival, Penang Senior EXCO member YB Chow Kon Yeow who was there at 6 pm, had informed me by phone of disruption of the peaceful rally by UMNO and Perkasa members.
YB Chow said that there were 1,000 people against Lynas as compared to 100 UMNO and Perkasa members supporting Lynas. He told me the UMNO and Perkasa members were behaving violently. The UMNO and Perkasa members were violently pushing the anti-Lynas people, forcibly trying to disperse them and force them to leave the field. Fortunately the anti-Lynas people did not retaliate to the UMNO and Perkasa members’ violent behaviour. They just sat down on the field, refusing to leave as ordered by UMNO and Perkasa.
I decided to proceed to the Himpunan Hijau 2.0 event and arrived at 6.30pm in my official car PG1. On arrival I became the target of the UMNO and Perkasa members’ violent behaviour. They used foul language, curse words and racial epithets such as “Cina B***, Penang Cina b****, b*** sokong Lim Guan Eng Ketua Menteri”.
The UMNO and Perkasa members surged forward, pointing their fists at me, again using racist language and threatening words like “you jaga”. If not for the members of public ringing me in protection, I believe they would have attacked me.
This violent conduct does not represent Malay culture or Malaysian spirit. I do not understand why they are so worked up in supporting Lynas which is an Australian company. They have a right to support Lynas but these UMNO and Perkasa members cannot prevent others from opposing Lynas.
I then went up to the stage to deliver my speech with YB Chow by my side. My speech against Lynas was repeatedly disrupted by the UMNO and Perkasa members who stood less than a meter from me.
In my speech I had stressed that the opposition to the Lynas plant is not a racial but an environmental issue affecting all regardless of race or religion. The processing of rare earth has radioactive negative effects. How serious these effects are can be seen by the fact that Lynas cannot even get approval from its own Australian government to build the plant in Australia. If Lynas plant explodes, then everyone will suffer – the Chinese will suffer, the Malays will suffer, the Indians will suffer, the Kadazans will suffer, the Ibans will suffer. We must not choose money over our health.
After my speech I went down the stage to greet the anti-Lynas people. There was a lot of pushing and shoving, the same abusive language and racial slurs as well as violent threats against me with fists pointed at me by the Perkasa and UMNO members. I did not witness the violent attacks by UMNO and Perkasa members on the two Kwong Wah Jit Poh journalists, Chew Seng Tung and Lee Hong Chun.
However I am grateful to Chew who was violently attacked by the UMNO and Perkasa members for preventing the UMNO members from attacking me. Chew had 8 stitches on his injured finger whilst Lee had a bruise on his head. I believe that there are more who were hit by the UMNO and Perkasa members.
This is not the first time that reporters have been injured by violent UMNO and Perkasa members. In an illegal demonstration in July last year, two reporters were injured in a demonstration attended by UMNO Senator Ezam Mohd Nor. To date no action has been taken by the police against those who assaulted the two reporters.
The UMNO and Perkasa members continued their violent behaviour towards me coming as close as 1 meter when I went to my car. Even after getting into my official car, they continued to hit my car, spit on it and refused to let my car leave. The anti-Lynas crowd showed restraint and did not retaliate against the UMNO and Perkasa violent behaviour.
Seeing their violent behaviour, I feel threatened by UMNO and Perkasa members nearly 2 days after the event. I am shocked that BN, especially Penang UMNO and Gerakan (Dato Musa Sheikh Fadzir and Dato Seri Teng Hock Nan) continues to support the violent behaviour of UMNO and Perkasa members towards the Kwong Jit Poh reporters and the anti-Lynas public. Instead of a public apology by BN for their UMNO and Perkasa’s violent behaviour, both of them try to blame me.
Clearly the injuries suffered by the reporters are not enough for UMNO and Gerakan to differentiate who are the criminals and who are the victims. I believe that these irresponsible comments by UMNO and Gerakan leaders are intended to justify the inexcusable violent behaviour of UMNO and Perkasa members.
When UMNO and Gerakan do not even condemn violent attacks by UMNO and Perkasa members on reporters covering the event, my personal safety is not guaranteed. Just like the two reporters, if I am violently attacked by UMNO and Perkasa members, I will always be wrong and instead the UMNO and Perkasa attackers will be the victims.
For my personal safety, I hereby lodge a police report against violent threats by UMNO and Perkasa members. Should anything happen to me, UMNO and Perkasa have to bear full responsibility. It is up to the police to show that they can perform their duties without fear of favour by acting not only against the UMNO and Perkasa members who assaulted the two reporters but also those who threatened me.