Maria called up for probe on Penang Bersih event


PETALING JAYA: Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah was called in by the police today over claims she gave statements on a Bersih event at a shopping mall in Seberang Perai, Penang, last December.

However, the Bersih leader said she opted to maintain her silence during the 20 minutes of questioning.

“I was asked by the investigating officer (IO) from the Seberang Perai Tengah police district six questions related to the event.

“I told the IO that I will only answer the questions in court,” she told reporters after having her statement recorded at the Petaling Jaya police headquarters.

She said two other individuals, activist Adam Adli and Machang Bubuk assemblyman Lee Khai Loon, had their statements recorded at the Seberang Perai district police headquarters.

Maria claimed the police action in calling the group’s committee members to record their statements over an “illegal” assembly, purportedly held without the 10-day notice required under the law, was a form of “pure harassment”.

“I feel it is unjustified to keep calling us to record our statements.

“If they want to charge us for allegedly committing an offence, just charge us in court,” she said.

Maria added that it was also a waste of time and resources to keep forcing Bersih committee members to go in and out of police stations to have their statements recorded.

“They have called us at least four times for our convoy events in various states.

“And today, the IO has to come down from Penang just to take my statement for an event that took place in December,” she said.

Earlier today, three Bersih steering committee members, namely Mandeep Singh, Zoe Randhawa and Chan Tsu Chong, were questioned by the Dang Wangi district police.

Randhawa, who was present at the police station here with Maria, said the trio were questioned over claims they did not give the required 10-day notice under the Peaceful Assembly Act for organising the “Bebas Maria” candlelight vigil gathering at Dataran Merdeka from Nov 21 to Nov 28 last year.

This was after Maria was detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, or Sosma, for claims on Bersih receiving foreign funding.

She was released on Nov 28 after 10 days in detention.

Bersih held daily vigil gatherings until her release in late November.