Member of Parliament for Sungai Siput, Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj and several Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leaders along with a number of farmers were arrested on Wednesday, August 5 for participating in an illegal assembly outside the State Secretariat Building, Ipoh.
K. Kunasekaran, coordinator of the gathering and PSM Youth chief, K.S. Bawani of the “listen, listen, listen” fame were also picked up by the police.
Michael and party members had led a group of farmers to meet Menteri Besar, Dato’ Seri DiRaja Dr Zambry Abd Kadir over unresolved issues involving farmers’ lands which were taken over by a state agency. These people had been farming the state lands for many decades but were forcibly evicted, without compensation, to make way for developments.
About 200 protesters had gathered at the back entrance of the Perak State Secretariat Building since morning. They wanted to meet the MB to voice their grouses in person.
Protesters brought along a variety of vegetables, fruits and fish, while holding placards to block the entrance into the building. Officers from the Ipoh City Council confiscated the goods, which the farmers had laid out on the road.
At about 2pm, Police Light Strike Force intervened when the protesters attempted to force their way into the State Secretariat Building by pushing the iron gates. Police gave those gathered three minutes to disperse or face arrest. The protesters were arrested when they refused to disperse. They were released after their statements were recorded.