KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — Police today secured two-day remand orders for 25 people arrested during yesterday’s protest against the goods and services tax (GST) at the Customs Department headquarters in Kelana Jaya.
According to PKR communications chief Fahmi Fadzil, police are also applying to remand another five people who were arrested during a vigil outside the Kelana Jaya police station to protest the mass detentions of the protesters.
The 25 are currently being held at the Shah Alam district police headquarters.
Yesterday, police reportedly arrested at least 79 people in the protest including Parti Sosialis Malaysia’s Sungai Siput MP Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, PAS MP Dr Hatta Ramli, PKR’s Badrul Hisham Shahrin, DAP’s Hew Kuan Yau, DAP Wanita activist Sefura Othman and her brother Ahmad Haikal.
They later released the majority of the detainees after recording their statements.
Today, Klang MP Charles Santiago who was present during yesterday’s protest criticised the decision to arrest the protesters and accused the police of preventing lawyers from meeting with the detainees for three hours and withholding food from the group.
“Such blatant abuse of police power to create fear among the protesters and the public is grotesque,” he said in a statement.
The DAP lawmaker said the protesters were only seeking answers to the new consumption tax, and need not have been treated as though they were attempting to pull off a coup on the government.
He added that citizens were within their rights to express dissatisfaction with the government’s policies while Putrajaya also has the duty to listen to the public.
Yesterday afternoon, anti-GST protesters marched towards the Customs Department’s headquarters despite heavy police presence, leading to the mass arrests.
The detainees were held temporarily at the Kelana Jaya police station, where supporters of those arrested had gathered and later clashed with police, prompting further arrests.