Brawl at Tamil daily office: Lim wants IGP, Subra to act against gangsters

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PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Najib Razak should take a stand against gangsterism and hooliganism before he goes to the White House.

In fact, MIC president Dr S Subramaniam should also take a stand and condemn the brawl at the Tamil Malar newspaper office along Jalan Ipoh about noon yesterday.

DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang made these calls following the alleged incident involving Deputy Youth and Sports Minister M Saravanan yesterday.

Saravanan was alleged to have brought some 80 to 100 MIC members to the newspaper’s office. The deputy minister has denied the allegation and claimed he was there to defuse the situation.

Lim said it was unfortunate that violence and hooliganism was targeted towards Tamil newspapers.

He said the last time such incidents happened was with the Tamil Nanban and Thinamani Tamil newspapers in the 1990s when the Maika Holdings issue involving MIC was a hot topic.

“Such acts of gangsterism are against the Rukun Negara and democracy in the country.

“We should convince people with words , not with sticks, violence or fists,” Lim said.

He hoped the new IGP, Mohamad Fuzi Harun, will take action against these perpetrators of violence.

“Other than resorting to asking for an apology, this should be made an example. To allow gangsterism in one part will only allow it to spread to other areas.”

Lim said such behaviour must be condemned, he said during his visit to the Tamil Malar office today.

Meanwhile, Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran said the incident was an act of gangsterism.

He said if the allegations by the newspaper against Saravanan were not true, MIC should seek redress in the courts.

“I am sure Tamil Malar and all peace-loving people will condemn yesterday’s incident as a black mark on journalism in Malaysia.

“Rest assured the critical writings in Tamil Malar and other papers on the MIC and BN will not subside because of this despicable act of gangsters,” he said when accompanying Lim during the visit.

K Saraswathy, the legal adviser for the Tamil news daily, told FMT she was informed by the office staff at 11.30am that 80 to 100 men had surrounded the area around the newspaper’s office.

She was met there by the daily’s chairman, Ohm Thiagarajan.

She claimed they were jostled by a group of gangsters who she said were with Saravanan on the five-foot way of her office premises.

She said she sustained injuries after she was pushed and punched on the hand and shoulder. She said the chairman sustained head injuries and a cut on his back.

Saravanan informed her that he had met the Tamil Malar managing director to settle issues pertaining to two news reports.

The reports that were published last Sunday and on Tuesday had questioned the rental accounts for the Wilayah MIC building along Jalan Lumut and also another MIC building situated along Jalan Ipoh, belonging to Selangor MIC.

During the Selangor MIC convention 10 days back, the matter of rental income was also raised after it was not shown in the MIC annual report.

It was alleged that Saravanan had used one floor of the building for his personal business activities.

Saraswathy said things apparently became heated when the legal adviser questioned the reason why there were thugs surrounding them.

Saravanan was alleged to have asked her to keep her mouth shut.

Matters went out of control when a man pushed her to the ground and later punched her on the hand and shoulder, she alleged.

Saravanan told FMT the allegations against him were baseless.

“I totally deny bringing gang members. There was no such incident inside the Tamil Malar office.”

He said the confrontation happened on the street as both the Tamil Malar and Saravanan’s offices are opposite each other.

Saravanan also accused the newspaper of publishing false news regarding the rental income.

“This matter was raised during the annual general meeting and has already been clarified.”

He said his visit to Tamil Malar yesterday was a courtesy call to clarify the matter.

“Unfortunately, the office was locked, so the members decided to gather at a restaurant on the ground floor of the building.

“However, the jostling among the groups started when Ohm Thiagarajan approached and started shouting at them.”

Both parties, he said, had lodged a police report.

Tamil Malar claims a circulation of 10,000 copies daily throughout Malaysia.