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Anwar hints at Umno’s hidden hand

 | April 19, 2012

However Home Minister Hishammuddin says similar allegations were used in the past to rile up the public.

FULL REPORT

KUALA LUMPUR:  Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim today hinted that Umno could be behind the attack on university students camped at Dataran Merdeka.

Although he did not specifically name his political adversary, the PKR supremo said that he wanted to “remind their (Umno’s) tools which supported this action” not to resort to violent means.

“We can be of differing opinions. We can imagine them (the students) to be wrong. Maybe we can wholeheartedly disagree with them but remember, don’t use harsh force,” he added.

Speaking to reporters in Parliament, Anwar said this was not the first time that Umno was linked to such acts of aggression.

If it was an Umno supporter who was attacked, he added, there would he a huge outcry from the party leaders.

“Is this a country with a culture of gangsterim? Doesn’t [Prime Minister] Najib [Tun Razak] feel responsible? How can Home Minister [Hishammudin Hussein] let go of this issue just like that?” he asked.

Umno leaders had distanced themselves from the incident, with the party information chief Ahmad Maslan also accusing the students protesting for free tertiary education of being tools of the opposition.

Home minister downplays it

Earlier, the home minister suggested that the allegation of students being attacked at Dataran Merdeka could be a deliberate attempt to stir up emotions.

While he did not condemn the attack, the minister instead said the veracity of the allegation needed to be investigated and urged the public to be wary of such matters.

Hishammuddin said similar allegations had surfaced in the past, spreading through mobile phone text messages and the online media.

“There have been cases where such allegations are used to raise emotions be it in the areas of race, religion and now students,” he said, adding that the relevant authorities must probe the latest claim.

Hishammuddin was also tickled by the claim that the protest had spread to Terengganu, saying it was the work of only a handful of troublemakers.

“I don’t really see the traction. There are one or two people making trouble and raising issues,” he said, adding that those present at the event he was attending today outnumbered those in Dataran Merdeka and Terengganu.

“Twenty or 30 people set up tents at Dataran Merdeka and it’s as if the world is coming to an end,” he said.

The students who were camping at Dataran Merdeka claimed that a group of men clad in black had set upon them in the wee hours of the morning.

They claimed that the men went on a rampage for 10 minutes, destroying their tents and throwing punches.

Related story:

‘Jangan kaitkan serangan mahasiswa dengan Umno’

Men in black rain blows on camped students

Watch video of the attack here

Also read:

Hishammuddin: Bersih rally has no appeal


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