Friday, May 18, 2012

Ambiga says attempted break-in at office

Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan reported a possible break-in attempt at her office in Damansara Heights here this morning after a staff member found the security box at the premises dismantled.

But the Bersih co-chair told The Malaysian Insider that it was not immediately certain if anyone had made it into her office as nothing was believed to have been stolen.

“But I am more afraid of people planting things rather than stealing things,” Ambiga (picture) said when contacted. “Still, I do not know if anyone came in.”

She said her staff member, who is lodging a police report on the incident now, had made the discovery at about 8 this morning.

“The security box, where you swipe your card to enter, was completely dismantled,” she said.

Asked if she believed the attempted break-in was linked to the series of anti-Bersih protests outside her home, Ambiga refused to speculate.

“Let me get more information first. We are lodging a report, so let’s get more details before saying anything further,” she said.

Ambiga has been at the centre of attacks since she led a crowd of thousands down the streets of the capital during the Bersih 3.0 sit-in on April 28.

Last Thursday, members of the Malaysia Small and Medium Entrepreneurs Alliance (Ikhlas) held a “burger protest” outside her home in Bukit Damansara here, claiming that the Bersih 3.0 protest had caused them a loss of income amounting to RM200,000.

About 10 traders and some individuals dressed in Barisan Nasional (BN) uniform prepared about 200 burgers during their hour-long protest and offered some to Ambiga, who is vegetarian, as well as reporters covering the event.

They also hung a burger on the gate of her house, which was removed.

The former Bar Council president, who is often seen flanked by bodyguards wherever she goes, had later called the protest an invasion of privacy.

She told the traders to file their claim for the losses suffered in court instead of holding protests outside her house.

Ikhlas is now planning to stage a larger protest with 500 traders on May 24 as they “want the rally organisers to take responsibility for their actions and compensate traders.”

Police have said they will not act against the traders as there is no offence “if you want to sit in front of her house without disrupting other people.”

“They didn’t enter her house, they were in a public space,” Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar had said on Monday, adding that under the recently-enforced Peaceful Assembly Act all parties should be allowed to conduct peaceful gatherings.

On Tuesday, about 10 retired soldiers from the Malay Armed Forces Veterans Association (PVTM) exercised their bottoms outside Ambiga’s house to protest against the Bersih chief for being an “enemy” of the nation.

“We Armed Forces veterans have the right to protest against an ‘enemy’ who tried to smear the nation’s name,” said PVTM president Datuk Mohd Ali Baharom.

Ambiga came out of her house to meet the veterans and received a placard from them which read “tolak Ambiga Anwar (reject Ambiga Anwar)”, referring to Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The Bersih 3.0 April 28 rally saw tens of thousands gather at six different locations before heading to Dataran Merdeka and was peaceful until about 2.30pm when Ambiga asked the crowd to disperse.

But her call was not heard by most of the crowd who persisted around the historic square which the court had already barred to the public over the weekend.

Just before 3pm, some protestors breached the barricade surrounding the landmark, leading police to disperse the crowd with tear gas and water cannons.

Police then continued to pursue the rally-goers down several streets amid chaotic scenes which saw violence from both sides over the next four hours.

Several dozen demonstrators have claimed that they were assaulted by groups of over 10 policemen at a time and visual evidence appears to back their claim but police also point to violence from rally-goers who also attacked a police car.

The police car then crashed into a building before some protesters flipped it on its side.

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