Batu Pahat Umno chief Puad Zarkashi denies any involvement in viral Parit Raja rioting incident

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Mohd Puad Zarkashi (pic) has denied any involvement in the recent rioting incident in Parit Raja, Johor.

He speculated that his name was probably linked to the incident because of his position as Batu Pahat Umno division chief and the fact that he was vocal in his criticism of the Perikatan Nasional government under Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He, however, said that Parit Raja was located in the constituency of Seri Gading and not Batu Pahat.

"So don't make any accusations. They should think why the rakyat were willing to do this on the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, ” Puad said in a Facebook post Friday (May 14).

He also said that there were some people who even spent the first day of Hari Raya putting up banners criticising the government on highways.

“May the 8th PM set foot in reality. Congratulations to the people of Parit Raja, ” Puad said.

Police had arrested a local man to assist investigations into the incident in Parit Raja which went viral on social media on Thursday (May 13).

Batu Pahat district police chief ACP Ismail Dollah said the 21-year-old man was arrested at the Parit Raja Police Station at about 8.30pm after he was summoned to have his statement recorded on the incident.

Johor Criminal Investigation Department chief SAC Datuk Md Yusof Ahmad later said a further 19 people had been arrested over the incident and would be brought to the Batu Pahat court on Friday (May 14) morning for a remand application.

So far, a total of 20 people have been arrested over the incident.

Police had received an alert from the public at 11.04am Thursday that a banner criticising the government was spotted on a pedestrian bridge at Jalan Parit Raja heading to Ayer Hitam, but a visit to the location found that it had been taken down.

In the video, participants of the protest were seen lighting up flares and raising a banner criticising the government.

The case is being investigated under Section 144/269 of the Penal Code and Section 8 of the Explosives Act 1957.

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