PETALING JAYA: Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah today demanded to know how Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) arrived at the figure – RM34,150 – for the damages to trees and plants at the rallies held in Kuala Lumpur last November.
Maria described as “outrageous”, the bill slapped by DBKL on the organisers of the Bersih 5 and Red Shirts rallies.
“They should not be charging us at all. We were only exercising our right to assemble,” she said.
Maria also questioned how DBKL came up with the number of trees which were damaged.
Bersih 2.0, through their Twitter account today, posted a copy of the DBKL letter dated December 27 last year, demanding the electoral group pay RM34,500 for damaging 3,300 trees around Jalan Ampang.
“Do they have that much trees around Jalan Ampang? I do not know if there were that much,” she said.
DBKL ordered the Bersih and Red Shirts to settle the amount within a fortnight, adding that they will commence with legal action if the organisers fail to respond.
“There is no need for us to pay, a court had also ruled in our favour that the government cannot claim for damages which occurred in a rally,” she said, citing the Court of Appeal’s ruling last year that no provision is provided for under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) that allows the government to sue over damages.
When contacted by FMT, Mayor Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz said that he would leave it to the court to decide. “I will ask my lawyers to handle the matter,” he said, responding to Bersih 2.0’s refusal to pay the RM34,150 bill.