Saturday 1 September 2012

PKR bus attacked by ' UMNO samseng' in Kelantan

PKR's Jelajah Merdeka Rakyat which kicked off yesterday was marred when its double-decker campaign bus had its windscreen smashed and splashed with bright red paint during a pit stop at Kota Bharu.

The incident occurred at about 4.20am, said PKR deputy president Azmin Ali at a press conference this morning in Kuala Lumpur.

"The bus arrived in Kota Bharu at around 1.30am from Tanah Merah and was parked at Siti Khadijah market in preparation for a meet-and-greet programme later in the morning.

pkr election poll bus attacked in kelantan story"The bus' driver and his assistant decided to sleep on the top floor of the bus, but at around 4.20am they were woken up by a loud noise.

"An inspection found that the bus front and side mirrors had been smashed. The windscreen was also splashed with red paint," he said.

The incident, Azmin said, appeared to be a planned attempt at disrupting PKR's campaign blitz as cement blocks were hurled at the driver's side of the windscreen, on top of red paint being splashed onto it, to prevent the bus from continuing its journey.

Kelantan is the party's second stop in its three-day programme across the Malay heartland.

Earlier yesterday, PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim, accompanied by his wife and PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, made their first stop in Bentong where 300 people welcomed the convoy.

Also present at the event were party communications director Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad and director of strategy Rafizi Ramli.

The Jelajah Merdeka Rakyat campaign seeks to visit five states in three days - Pahang, Kelantan, Perak, Kedah and Perlis - and take part in 20 official programmes at multiple locations.

Prior to the attack, the bus had made stops at Kuala Lipis, Gua Musang and Tanah Merah, in addition to Bentong.

A police report of the attack was lodged at Kota Bharu police station at 5.14am.
'Gangsters are king'
In a Facebook entry, Anwar had decried that "samseng bermaharajalela" (gangsters are king).

pkr election poll bus attacked in kelantan 2Despite the incident, Azmin said the bus would continue on the campaign trail as soon as it is released from the Kota Bharu police station.

He refused to speculate who the perpetrators were but noted that this was part of the growing political violence targeted at Pakatan Rakyat in recent months.

Azmin took aim at Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for failing to condemn previous attacks, which has resulted in further violence, including today's incident.

"Indirectly, consent is given to a culture of gangsterism. This culture never existed under the tenure of former premiers Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi but it is happening under Najib's watch. It appears that the gangsters are being given protection," he lamented.

Azmin also took to task Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein for the police failure in taking action against past violence.

"Even though several police reports had been lodged, to date, not a single person has faced justice...

"I am confident that this time Najib will also not respond and the police's investigation will bear no real action against these gangsters," he said.

Bus to continue with damaged windcreen

In February this year, Anwar's vehicle was attacked in Sembrong, Johor, and its window smashed and a week after that, an alleged BN supporter had attempted to lunge at Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.

Nurul Izzah's event again was hit with violence in May when one of her supporters suffered a bloody head from projectiles hurled at her ceramah in Kuala Lumpur. A week before that, a similar incident occurred in Malacca at an event for Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan.

After the press conference, Rafizi confirmed that the bus had been released from custody and will continue its trip to Perak with its shattered windscreen as it would take a week to get a replacement windscreen.

"The driver will need to drive slowly. We have only missed one stop at Jeli, the bus will head to Gerik in Perak where the campaign will continue," he said.

After Perak, the campaign will hit the trail in Perlis before concluding in Kedah on Sunday.

Rafizi noted that the bus had yet to receive approval from Road Transport Department (JPJ) to ferry passengers and as such, Pakatan leaders had to accompany the bus with their own vehicles.

NONE"JPJ is delaying it but we're hoping to get the permit for passengers soon," he said, adding that the bus serves as a ceramah stage at various stops during the three-day tour.

He added that in light of the incident, PKR will speed up the launch of its second vehicle by this month - a campaign trailer.


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