Friday, May 18, 2012

All of us were fully clothed, say army vets

The "butt exercises" event at Bersih co-chairman Datuk S. Ambiga's house was only a form of "healthy exercise" by 10 former army personnel, said the Malaysian Armed Forces Veteran Association (PVTM).

Its president, Mohd Ali Baharom, who was one of the 10, said they did not define their behaviour on Tuesday as sexual harassment as "all of us were fully clothed".

"If she didn't like us being there, surely she would not have offered us drinks. She would have totally ignored us," he said, "but she even spoke with us and accepted a poster we gave her."

Ambiga had reportedly said she only greeted the protesters and offered them drinks because she was trying to emulate Mahatma Gandhi's footsteps in "responding with kindness to those against you".

Mohd Ali said the group's main purpose of the protest was to stop Ambiga from organising another rally.

"We are grateful that since then, she had issued a statement on Tuesday that there are no immediate plans to organise another rally.

"For that, I urge others to respect her and not hold more demonstrations in front of her house," he said. On May 16, the Bersih 3.0 committee, stated that they have no current plans to organise another one despite calls from supporters to do so.

The committee had said their focus now was to ensure that the coming general elections is as free as possible from fraudulent practices. The 8.30am protest by PVTM was the second held in front of Ambiga's house.

On May 10, a group of traders from the Malaysia Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Alliance (Ikhlas), held an hour-long "burger protest" by setting up burger stalls and distributing them for free to the public.

The traders claimed they suffered substantial loss of income due to the Bersih rally in the city.

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