Why no arrests over UM scuffle, are aggressors ‘fugitives’ like Jho Low? MP asks

Students protest Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s meet-and-greet session in front of Restoran Amjal near Universiti Malaya in Kuala Lumpur March 22, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Students protest Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s meet-and-greet session in front of Restoran Amjal near Universiti Malaya in Kuala Lumpur March 22, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh today questioned the authorities’ delay in making any arrest against the aggressors who broke up a peaceful demonstration against Datuk Seri Najib Razak outside Universiti Malaya (UM) last week.

“Even though this incident has become viral, everyone knows, the whole Dewan Rakyat knows what happened, but has anyone been arrested since last Friday?” the Pakatan Harapan (PH) backbencher asked in Parliament while debating the Royal Address.

“Are those in the videos of photographs fugitives like Jho Low, that we don’t know where they are and cannot arrest them; why until now no action has been taken?” he asked further.

Low refers to Penang-born businessman Low Taek Jho who is wanted by federal investigators here and in Singapore for questioning over his role in the theft of billions of dollars from sovereign investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). He remains at large despite a warrant for his arrest.

Ramkarpal wanted to know if the authorities were facing difficulties in making bringing those involved in the ruckus to face the law.

A scuffle broke out outside a restaurant near the UM campus here last Friday between supporters of former prime minister Najib and some six students holding up placards and a cardboard caricature of a clown-faced Pekan MP demanding the whereabouts of the money taken from 1MDB.

Umno supreme council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam and Petaling Jaya Selatan Umno division chief Mutalib Abdul Rahim were sighted as among those involved in the conflict through videos of the incident which almost immediately went viral.

The incident drew ire from both sides of the political divide, with politicians along with academics condemning the harassment.

“What did they do that was so sensitive, to the point they were attacked by a group of thugs?” Ramkarpal asked in the Dewan Rakyat,.

“Isn’t this the work of Umno? We have to admit it is the work of Umno. We cannot hide that fact, this is not the first time Umno has done something like this,” he added, triggering an uproar from the Opposition MPs.

“We are missing the point, where if there is a fire, you don’t fight it with fire,” he replied after the Opposition cried out in objection to his remark.

Ramkarpal then called for new laws to be drafted banning any form of racism, physical or verbal.

“Last year we heard the [home] minister say he wants to introduce several laws that will address the issue of racism and such, but this needs to expedited so that we avoid things like this from happening,” he said.

“I feel all in this Dewan must support laws to outlaw racism. Let us all throw our support behind legislation outlawing racism,” he said to roars of support from both sides of the divide in the House.

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