KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 — Police arrested 12 persons in Malacca last night for wearing the yellow Bersih 4 T-shirt deemed illegal by the government, state police chief Datuk Chuah Ghee Lye said today.
When contacted, Chuah also said the Bersih 4 shirts were not allowed under the Printing Presses and Publication Act (PPPA) 1984, referring to a government order declaring them as illegal.
“It’s only 12. They were wearing the Bersih T-shirt,” he told Malay Mail Online when asked to clarify claims on social media that 25 had been nabbed over the T-shirts.
He said the 12 were all released on police bail last night after they were picked up and had their statements recorded.
He confirmed that their shirts with the Bersih 4 logo were seized.
On Friday, the government gazetted a Thursday order by the Home Ministry, banning all items related to the Bersih 4 mass demonstration, including its promotional materials and any item of clothing bearing the rally’s name as well as its signature yellow.
The order, issued by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi within his powers under Section 7(1) of the PPPA, stipulates that: “The printing, importation, production, reproduction, publishing, sale, issue, circulation, distribution or possession of the publication described in the Schedule which is likely to be prejudicial to public order, likely to be prejudicial to security, likely to be contrary to any law and likely to be prejudicial to national interest are absolutely prohibited throughout Malaysia”.
Under the schedule, the ministry listed “any yellow coloured clothing and which contains the words “Bersih 4” and “any other printed material and pamphlet which leads to Bersih 4 rally” as the two types of “publications” banned.
No reports of arrests were made of the thousands who showed up in the national capital for wearing the Bersih 4 shirt, but the Bersih Urgent Arrest team claimed last night that 25 in Malacca and one in Nilai were arrested over the shirt.
The team of volunteer lawyers under the Bersih 4 rally organiser also said that a bus of around 30 persons heading for Kuala Lumpur to join the gathering were stopped by police at Bentong and ordered to head home.
The Bersih 4 rally which kicked off yesterday afternoon is expected to run for 34 hours and end at midnight today. It will be held simultaneously in Kuala Lumpur with similar rallies in Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Kuching in Sarawak and elsewhere across the globe.
Bersih 4’s five demands are: clean elections; clean government; right to dissent; strengthening parliamentary democracy and saving the economy.