Roads reopened to traffic after demonstrators disperse, say cops

KUALA LUMPUR: The major roads closed to traffic earlier Saturday (Jan 22) have been reopened to traffic, says the police.

Dang Wangi OCPD Asst Comm Noor Dellhan Yahaya confirmed that authorities have reopened all six roads that were closed in stages from 10.30am to 11am on Saturday (Jan 22).

“No untoward incidents occurred here and the situation at Dang Wangi remains peaceful and under control,” he said when contacted.

Police had earlier diverted traffic along six major roads within Dang Wangi from 7am until the end of the gathering.

The roads involved are Jalan Kuching, Jalan Kinabalu, Jalan Maharajalela, Jalan Hang Tuah, Jalan Imbi and Jalan Sultan Ismail.

Meanwhile at Bangsar police have also reopened the five roads which were closed for the demonstration here.

Traffic has already began plying these roads.  ANN

#TangkapAzamBaki demo: Protestors disperse after singing national anthem

KUALA LUMPUR: Participants of the #TangkapAzamBaki demonstration have dispersed.

The organisers told those gathered under the Bangsar LRT Station to disperse at around 12.45pm after they sang the Negaraku.

Hundreds of protestors participated in a short procession from the LRT station to the Jalan Travers-Jalan Bangsar intersection.

Police Light Strike Force personnel had set up a barricade there preventing the crowd from pushing forward.

The crowd then held a 15-minute sit-in at the intersection as a sign of protest.

No untoward incidents occurred throughout the demonstration which started at around 11am.

Jalan Bangsar is now cleared and police are expected to reopen the route shortly.  ANN

story images

story imagesProtesters disperse after ‘catching Azam’

Much of Kuala Lumpur has been blocked off to traffic as the authorities attempt to clamp down on a planned protest demanding action against MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki.

Protest ends peacefully with Negaraku

12.41pm: Protestors are dispersing after capping off the rally with a round of Negaraku.

Prior to this, the police were repeatedly reminding the crowd that the agreed-upon dispersal time was 12.15pm.

So far, it does not appear that any untoward incidents took place during the protest.

‘Azam’ shows up at rally

12.35pm: Bangsar LRT station – The crowd stops briefly for a brief skit where a man dressed in a mock MACC uniform is booed by the crowd.

Following this, the man in the mock uniform is symbolically “detained” by the crowd.

Man in mock uniform ‘detained’

Spirits are high as authorities continue to keep watch.

The lead marshal issues repeated reminders to the crowd that they have exceeded the agreed dispersal time of 12.15pm.

The march continues

12.20pm: The crowd rises and, to the beat of marching drums, they follow instructions to walk back towards the Bangsar LRT station.

“If you want to selfie, please don’t block the crowd,” says a rally marshal in charge of keeping protesters in physically distanced formation.

He reminds the crowd that the police have issued a 12.15pm dispersal time.

During the brief sit-in protest, youth wing leaders of political parties took turns addressing the crowd.

They reiterated the call for the authorities to take action against MACC chief Azam Baki.

‘Duduk dan bantah’

12.05pm – Jalan Travers – Riot police have formed a line at the edge of Jalan Travers, preventing protesters from proceeding further towards the direction of the National Mosque.

The protest, near the junction to Brickfields, currently consists of around 200 people. Protest organisers have agreed to not proceed further.

Protesters sitting along Jalan Travers

Instead, participants are asked to sit down as a sign of protest for 15 minutes.

The protest organisers plan to turn back towards Jalan Bangsar after the 15-minute “duduk dan bantah” (sit and protest) session.

Mostly young protesters

11.55am – Jalan Travers – The protest participants are predominantly young but there are also a handful of senior citizens. Among them is 65-year-old Bathmanathan.

“I think it is refreshing to see the youth come out and do this. My friend and I who came today were actually lamenting about how most of the youth in this country aren’t aware of politics in this country.

“It’s refreshing and (my friend and I) can raise the average age of the protesters here,” he said.

Bathmanathan lamented the government’s “blatant” corruption.

“Things are so blatant right now, they (the government) are basically telling the rakyat they can do whatever they want.

“I think everybody needs to make a stand and I am here to do what I can,” he said.

Predominantly young protesters

11.45am: There have been further engagements between the police and rally organisers as the march progresses along Jalan Travers.

Uniformed police personnel have requested for organisers to remove a Mitsubishi Triton truck which was being driven ahead of the protesters.

PKR Youth leader Ahmad Syukri Razab continues to lead the crowd with chants of “Tangkap Azam Baki”.

Police approach a Mitsubishi Triton

Protesters in black on the march

11.45am: Jalan Travers – A group of protesters numbering around 150 are marching from Jalan Bangsar to Jalan Travers, about 1km away.

Among the participants is a 31-year-old woman who wanted to be known as Moori.

Moori said she decided to join the protest to demand justice.

Protesters along Jalan Bangsar

“If there was justice we wouldn’t be here, and it is a very wrong time because of the pandemic. If there was a choice I definitely would choose to not come out.

“I’m only here because I am sad and concerned because of the direction our country is going. This (corruption) has to be stopped,” she said.

11.30am: Brickfields district police chief Amihizam Abdul Shukor engages with rally organiser representative Tarmizi Anuar.

Amihizam requests for the ongoing march, which consists of a few hundred protesters largely in black, to end in Brickfields.

Tarmizi, however, requested for them to be allowed to move to Masjid Negara.

Brickfields district police chief Amihizam Abdul Shukor

Cops allow businesses to reopen

11.15am: Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman – The police finally allow businesses here to resume operations.

The police, which initially cordoned off the area, now allow workers into business premises.

However, only workers on foot and motorcycles are allowed to enter.

This road leads to the Sogo shopping mall which was the original venue of the #TangkapAzamBaki protest.

However, protesters have relocated to the Bangsar LRT after the cops obtained a court order banning demonstrations in the area.

More than 100 people had been waiting to enter the area since 9am, some to work while others to shop.

Protesters begin to march

11.13am: PKR Youth leader Ahmad Syukri Razab calls for the crowd to start marching away from the Bangsar LRT station.

Marshals from the organisers are seen coordinating the crowd.

Several red Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) trucks are seen on standby. The police watch as the crowd begins to move.

Protesters at the Bangsar LRT station

Protesters gather at Bangsar LRT station

11am: Some 100 protesters clad in black have gathered below the Bangsar LRT station by Menara UOA.

A group of police officers clad in bright yellow police jackets approached the protest coordinators.

They asked for the coordinators’ personal information but did not obstruct the protest.

They left after recording their information.

In the past, cops have hauled up protest leaders only after the protest ends to avoid escalations.

One of the activists at the protest Mandeep Singh starts to lead protesters to chant “Tangkap Tangkap Azam Baki” (Arrest Azam Baki).

The protesters are beginning to fill into the main road on Jalan Bangsar.

Activists chanting with loudhailer

10.40am: Businesses within a 1km radius from Dataran Merdeka are closed.

According to Astro Awani, they have been ordered to close due to a court order.

Yesterday, the police obtained a seven-day court order prohibiting protests at Dataran Merdeka, Sogo shopping mall, and Masjid Jamek in Kuala Lumpur.

This was in anticipation of the #TangkapAzamBaki protest.

10.30am: Bangsar LRT station – Several representatives from rally organisers ‘Tangkap Azam Baki Committee’ are seen on site.

Road blocks are set up to divert traffic from accessing the Bangsar LRT station but trains remain operational.

So far there has been light police presence with largely plain clothes personnel monitoring the location.

Bangsar LRT station

Others present so far include observers from the Bar Council and Freedom of Expression (FOE) Cluster.

Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ) programme officer Vinodh Pillai, representing the FOE Cluster, says: “We hope that there are no untoward incidents today.

“We hope that the authorities will protect and enshrine our freedom of expression in this assembly. We look forward to working with the necessary authorities,” he says.

The ‘Tangkap Azam Baki’ protest was mobilised in the wake of a shareholding scandal implicating the MACC chief, prompting calls for an independent probe on the allegations.

Azam claimed the over two million shares in two companies were not his but purchased by his brother in his name – in 2015 and 2016 – prompting the Securities Commission (SC) to also get involved over the possible misuse of his trading account.

On Jan 18, the SC issued a statement saying they had concluded their investigation into Azam and that based on evidence gathered, they were “not able to conclusively establish that a breach under section 25(4) of the Securities Industry (Central Depositories) Act 1991 (Sicda) has occurred”.

However, following criticisms over its announcement, the SC issued a clarification the next day (Jan 19), where it clarified it found no evidence of proxy trading by Azam.

The country’s first major rally this year will also be held amid fresh concerns over the Omicron Covid-19 variant. MKINI