3 MPs arrested in front of Istana Negara (updated)

KUALA LUMPUR: Three Members of Parliament were among six people arrested Saturday for participating in a rally in front of Istana Negara here.

Kapar MP S. Manikavasagam, Subang MP R. Sivarasa and Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin were arrested at 10.30am Saturday for protesting the detention of Hindu Rights Action Force leaders under the Internal Security Act 1960.

Three other PKR members were also arrested.

Brickfields OCPD Asst Comm Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid said all of the people arrested were released on bail by 12.45pm.

He said the police arrived at about 10am and asked members of the public, including tourists, to vacate the area around Istana Negara's main gate.

"Everybody left except for a group who refused to leave. We gave them three warnings to disperse. Deputy OCPD (Supt Azri Abd Rahman) spoke to them, and at 10.20am, I told gave them five minutes to disperse.

"At 10.25am, they still refused to leave so we arrested them. No force was used, and they did not resist arrest," he said.

At 10.35am, ACP Wan Bari said a group of 70 people, including about 15 children, alighted buses parked some distance away and walked towards Istana Negara.

"Each child was carrying a basket lined with yellow cloth containing flowers and a teddy bear. They left the baskets in front of the palace gate," he said, adding that they left after being asked to.

ACP Wan Bari said he could not comment further on investigations as "counter-reports have been made" against him for ordering the arrest of the six, and his comments would prejudice investigations.

According to Hindraf national event coordinator Kannan Ramasamy, the purpose of the gathering was to appeal to the King to advise Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar to release all the ISA detainees.

“These children do not have their fathers with them for Father’s Day (tomorrow) and that’s why they gave the King flowers as he too is a father,’’ said Kannan.

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