By Malaysian Bar
The Chairman of the Bar Council’s Human Rights Committee, Edmund Bon, was arrested after stopping some officers from the Kuala Lumpur City Council (DBKL) from removing banners and placards hung on the premises of the Bar Council Secretariat about 12.15 this afternoon.
Earlier, the Bar Council had decided to cancel the walk from SOGO to the Bar Council Secretariat in conjunction with the International Human Rights Day which falls tomorrow. The Council then decided to hold the celebration indoor at the Bar Council Secretariat. Banners and placards were also hung outside the building as well at the perimeter of the car park next to the building which was rented for this purpose. Some of these banners were carried by members during the September 26 Walk for Justice.
Then about 12.05pm, a team of officers from DBKL led by one Kulasegaram arrived and said the banners and placards had to be removed because they were put up without any permit. Edmund was then seen trying to explain to him that these banners and placards were hung on private property and asked whether Kulasegaram had any warrant to enter the premises.
Bar Councillor Roger Tan who had also just arrived then tried to persuade Kulasegaram to exercise restraint and to allow the celebrations to continue as these banners and placards would be removed by 3pm. Tan also said the Council had already cancelled the walk in good faith, and there was no need to mar the celebrations and aggravate the situation by resorting to this means.
However, the unreasonable Kulasegaram and his officers nevertheless went ahead to forcibly remove the banners and placards. Other members of Bon’s committee together with the Executive Officer, Rajen tried stopping them shouting, “This is private property, and we reserve our rights against DBKL and each of you”. One of the banners removed was totally harmless advertising about the Pesta Masakan Warisan.
The DBKL officers then took the banners and placards away. It was at this time that the indignant Bon went back to the steps of the Secretariat shouting in the presence of the press that DBKL had no right to enter our premises as it is private property. “Itu adalah hak kita”, Bon said. Bon was also heard inviting the senior police officer who was standing there, “Come, don’t do that. Come and celebrate with us. There is nasi lemak and mee goreng inside.”
Shortly thereafter, a police officer walked towards Bon and wrapped his arms over Bon and said, “You are under arrest”.
A visibly shaken Bon’s mother who was in the Auditorium located on the 1st floor then rushed down but Bon was already whisked away in a police car with a huge crowd of pressmen and lawyers running behind. The patrol car followed by another two unmarked police vehicles sped away with sirens screening.
Bon was sent to Ibu Pejabat Kontinjent Kuala Lumpur and there the Web Reporter understands he was met by the President of the Malaysian Bar, Ambiga Sreenevasan, who was there visiting those lawyers who were arrested earlier in the morning for taking part in the walk from SOGO to the Bar Council Secretariat.
When contacted, Ambiga said, “This is outrageous and I am in a state of utter disbelief at what has happened.”