Mat Sabu says will discuss complaint over PAS guard of honour

KOTA KINABALU: Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu today said he was taking seriously a complaint by a veterans group over a guard of honour ceremony at the PAS general assembly today where party members were dressed similar to the military uniform.

Mohamad said he would discuss the matter at the ministrial level before deciding the type of action to take.

“I acknowledge that this is a serious issue but I think we need to discuss the matter thoroughly before we can determine what kind of action can be taken,” he said.

The National Patriots Association comprising retired army officers said it was an offence for civilians to wear military-like uniform.

Speaking to reporters here where he is attending the national-level Malaysia Day celebration with other Cabinet members, Mohamad, who is also Amanah president, also played down the arrest of eight activists in Sabah including state Amanah Youth chief Mohd Khairudin Daud.

“I myself have been arrested dozens of times before, in the name of democracy too. This is not a major problem,” he said.

Khairudin was among 50 people who took part in the gathering dubbed “Pandang ke Sabah”, demanding the return of the state’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement.

Mat Sabu said it was not wrong to protest as long as it was peaceful.

Sabah Amanah chief Haris Alimudin had defended Khairudin, saying he was only exercising his democratic rights while the police were only doing their jobs.

Earlier, Deputy Home Minister Mohd Azis Jamman criticised the protesters, saying they were still in the “opposition mentality”.

Kota Kinabalu police chief Habibi Majinji said the eight activists have acted aggressively.

“They refused to disperse even after being given 15 minutes to speak without the hailer. When police personnel moved towards them, they became aggressive and a scuffle ensued. Police had to use minimal force to detain the suspects,” he said.

The protesters are being investigated under Section 186 of the Penal Code for preventing police from carrying out their duties and Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act for gathering without permit.