KUALA LUMPUR: Police have deemed the planned protest on New Year’s eve at Dataran Merdeka illegal, and warned organisers that arrests could be made.
However, City deputy police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Amar Singh said there will be no preventive arrests made before the rally.
He added that police have also identified the organisers of the planned protest and said arrests would be made if there was trouble during the protest.
“If they create any trouble, we will not hesitate to arrest them,” he told reporters at the City police headquarters at Jalan Hang Tuah here yesterday.
Dataran Merdeka is the venue for a New Year’s Eve celebration organised by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall, and the organiser is expecting 20,000 people to attend.
DCP Amar said the NGOs believed to be involved in the planned rally are Gerakan Turun Kos Sara Hidup (Turun), Jingga 13, Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) and Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM).
When asked about the statement made by organisers of the protest that it would be a peaceful gathering, DCP Amar said it was already an offence to gather without a 10-day notice given to the police.
“A total of 588 police reports have been lodged throughout the nation so far on the planned protest.
“This shows that the people are not happy with this protest as it would disrupt the new year celebrations,” he said.
However, the organiser of the protest, a coalition known as Gerakan3112-Turun, is adamant in going ahead. SMM chairman Mohamed Bukhairy Sofian said the coalition was expecting 10,000 protesters that night.
“I want to call on them to stop the price hikes and reduce the people’s cost of living, to stop wasting public funds and to stick to promises made during GE13, Mohamed Bukhairy said.
“We hope for cooperation from the police and we promise that the protest will run smoothly on our end,” he said.
SAMM propaganda director Edy Noor Reduan said the rally’s main purpose was to protest price hikes.
“We are not giving any instruction. If people want to go home after our rally, it’s their choice.
“If they feel they want to stay and call for the government to change, that’s also their decision.”
At George Town, an NGO has lodged a police report over a posting on theunspinners.blogspot.com containing an e-mail which claimed explosions would take place at several places in Kuala Lumpur on New Year’s Eve.
The places are the junction near Sogo and Pudu Sentral, the roundabout near Masjid Negara, the Bank Negara KTM Komuter station, and the Masjid Jamek LRT station.
The incident was said to be closely linked to a man who was detained over Facebook postings which allegedly incited people to join Himpunan Guling Kerajaan (Gathering to overthrow the Government), which was said to be held at the same venue and time.
Penang Facebook Association (Persatuan Mukabuku Pulau Pinang) chairman Salleh Ismail said he decided to lodge a police report on the grounds of public safety.