Emeric Teo was having a drink at a Starbucks outlet in Kuching when some 30 policemen confronted him.
Teo and a group of PKR members and other lawyers were at The Spring, a popular mall in Kuching, to publicise an online petition for the release of the six Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) members detained under the Emergency Ordinance (EO).
According to PKR Batu Lintang assemblyman, See Chee How, the group was having coffee at Starbucks and chatting to patrons when a group of about 30 policemen approached them.
“All of us were wearing yellow but Teo was the only one wearing a Bersih T-shirt,” See told FMT.
“The police took him to the Kuching police divisional headquarters. We were told that he has been arrested under Section 47 of the Societies Act 1966.”
Asked if Teo was handcuffed or whether a tussle ensued, See said: “No they didn’t handcuff him because they know he’s a lawyer. There were no arguments either.”
See, who accompanied Teo to the police headquarters, added that the police had just finished taking his statement and were in the midst of snapping pictures of Teo in the T-shirt.
“We’re still waiting for an explanation from the police,” he said. “We’d like to find out why he was arrested when the rally is over.”
Teo is the second person in Sarawak to be arrested over a Bersih T-shirt. On July 4, PKR Youth secretary Zulhaidah Suboh was arrested at the Miri airport for wearing a Bersih T-shirt and for carrying a few more in her luggage.
She pleaded not guilty at the Miri Magistrate’s Court and was released on RM4,000 bail on July 7.
No need for yellow phobia
Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein declared the Bersih T-shirts illegal as it represented Bersih 2.0 which the government had deemed an illegal movement.
“The arrest is completely unnecessary,” See stated.
“There is no need for the government to have a yellow phobia. The first Bersih rally was in 2007 and this will not be the end,” he added.
Earlier this week, Bersih 2.0 had called on the people to wear yellow every Saturday to keep the spirit alive and See attested to a huge turnout of people wearing yellow in Kuching today.
“Yellow was never a very popular colour before July 9,” he laughed. “But today I spotted so many people wearing something yellow in the coffee shops around town.”
See added however that police presence was minimal around the city except at The Spring where the online petition drive was being carried out and received a positive response.