Man in viral stray dog video wants MPSJ to apologise for detaining him

Koh Tat Meng with his lawyers Rajesh Nagarajan (left) and Sachpreetraj Singh Sohanpal after filing a police report at Balai Polis USJ 8, October 8, 2019. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Koh Tat Meng with his lawyers Rajesh Nagarajan (left) and Sachpreetraj Singh Sohanpal after filing a police report at Balai Polis USJ 8, October 8, 2019. — Picture by Choo Choy May

SUBANG JAYA, Oct 8 — The man at the centre of a viral video where he confronted Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) officers attempting to catch a stray dog is demanding the council apologise for having him detained by authorities on the same day. 

Print shop owner Koh Tat Meng, 47, said at 2pm last Thursday, hours after the incident, he was about to have lunch with his wife Diong Mei Li when their front door was knocked. 

“I opened it and saw five to six police officers, as well as the six MPSJ officers I saw earlier on. They detained me and I was brought to the police station at Puchong Utama,” he told reporters outside the Subang Jaya police district headquarters, where he filed a police report against his arrest. 

Koh was held at the Puchong Utama station until 8pm, under Section 186 of the Penal Code for obstructing public servants in the discharge of their public functions. He was later bailed out by his brother and sister-in-law. 

“I am not happy at the professionalism and manner in which I have been treated by public servants, whose salaries are paid by taxpayers like myself. 

“I kept calm throughout the whole incident, even though I was shoved and foul language was hurled at me. I only wanted them to understand that we should not be cruel to animals,” he said. 

The life-long animal lover expressed his worry at the dog’s potential fate, fearing the worst may have happened. 

“From what I saw, the dog was seized by one of its legs with a snare pole, and then thrown into the van. I am worried as it was not moving when in the vehicle,” he said. 

Koh also clarified why he was roughly treated by the officials, saying that it is likely a misunderstanding.

“The officials are Muslim, and from my Muslim friends I have learned that the Prophet Muhammad loved all animals and showed them compassion. I tried to remind them of this, and I did not insult the Prophet whatsoever, as you can hear in the video,” he said. 

One of the officers can be seen pinning Koh to a car, and demanding he watch what he says with regards to Islam. 

Koh’s lawyer N. Rajesh said his client never tried to obstruct the officers from carrying out their duties, only to plead with them to not use force when catching the stray. 

“To add insult to the injury, MPSJ issued a statement saying my client provoked them into using force against him. 

“The council should be censured for this, and the MPSJ president ought to step forward and apologise for claiming this to be the case,” he said. 

Rajesh also urged that the officials seen in the video be investigated by the police under Section 323 of the Penal Code for voluntarily causing hurt. 

When informed that MPSJ claimed the dog is alive and unhurt, he demanded the council prove it. 

“If that is the case, then bring the dog forward. From what I understand, animal welfare NGOs who attempted to visit the dog were instead turned away. My client has said he is willing to adopt the dog, if MPSJ will release it. 

“The fact that the Raja Permaisuri of Selangor has spoken up against this should serve as a clarion call for MPSJ in changing their standard operating procedures when it comes to handling stray animals,” Rajesh said. 

The 4-minute-13-second video clip went viral on social media the day after, in which Koh could be seen pleading with the officers trying to catch the dog hiding under a car. It is believed his wife Diong recorded the incident on her mobile phone. 

Also seen in the video is Koh arguing with one of the officers, as Diong repeatedly told them the dog did not bite. 

The subsequent firestorm of criticism led to an apology from Selangor Local Government, Public Transportation and New Village Development state executive councillor Ng Sze Han over the officers’ conduct. 

Yesterday Tengku Permaisuri of Selangor Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin expressed her regrets in a statement over the rough manner of the MPSJ officials. 

In her capacity as the royal patron of the Stray Free Selangor campaign, she urged the authorities to show more human sensitivity when dealing with abandoned animals or strays on the streets.

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