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Now DBKL wants Ambiga to pay

 | June 19, 2012

In a letter of demand to the Bersih chairperson and a steering committee member, DBKL is claiming RM350,000 for the cost incurred during the April 28 rally.

KUALA LUMPUR: In the latest twist to the Bersih saga, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has sent a letter of demand to the electoral watchdog’s co-chairperson S Ambiga and steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah.

The letter, inked by DBKL director-general Salleh Yusup, sought compensation amounting to RM351,203.45 with regard to the April 28 Bersih 3.0 rally here, and an additional RM100 for preparing the legal notice.

If Ambiga and Maria failed to settle the stipulated amount within two weeks, Salleh said DBKL would initiate legal action against them.

Below is the breakdown of DBKL’s financial claim:

  • Department of landscape and recreation suffered losses amounting to RM74,552. 50 due to damage to the landscape and trees.
  • Building maintenance unit – RM19,654 for the cost involved in putting up steel barriers.
  • Department of mechanical and electrical engineering – RM26,856.95 for transport and staff.
  • Department of urban transport – RM5,900 for damages to signboards and barriers.
  • Department of enforcement – RM224,240 which included overtime for the staff on duty, the cost of transport as well as food and drinks for them.

The letter also recounted the decision by Kuala Lumpur Mayor Ahmad Fuad Ismail to bar Bersih from using Dataran Merdeka for its protest.

It added that the police had also advised Ambiga and Maria against holding the protest at the iconic square.

“Despite being prohibited by DBKL, the police and a court order, you [Ambiga and Maria] went ahead with the protest resulting in the situation going out of control and public property being damaged in the process.

“Due to the protest, the mayor incurred financial losses and you [Ambiga and Maria] as the organiser must be held responsible,” read the letter.

This is the second claim filed against Bersih and Ambiga. The first came from the government which sought RM122,000 for the damage to police vehicles during the rally.

‘We are ready to defend ourselves’

Commenting on DBKL’s letter of demand, Ambiga said that she considered this as another form of harassment.

“We are more than ready to defend ourselves, and we will defend vigorously,” she told FMT, adding that the letter had been sent to her lawyers to issue a response.

The Bersih 3.0 rally drew some 100,000 to the streets demanding for free and fair elections as well as the resignations of the Election Commission’s top bosses.

Violence erupted when protesters breached the barricades, leading the police to fire tear gas and water cannons. In the ensuing clashes, scores of protesters, policemen and media personnel were injured.

The government blamed the opposition and the organiser, with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak claiming that it was an attempt to topple the government, a charge which the former denied.

In return, the organiser, opposition and civil society groups accused the police of using excessive force to disperse the protesters.


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