12 detained in KL over attack on opposition MP

Mr Khalid (wearing a pink shirt and a red tie) being shielded by police and security personnel after he was attacked just outside the Parliament building on Thursday.
Mr Khalid (wearing a pink shirt and a red tie) being shielded by police and security personnel after he was attacked just outside the Parliament building on Thursday.PHOTO: CHINA PRESS

'Riot' outside Parliament building follows row between MP and a deputy minister

KUALA LUMPUR • Police arrested 12 individuals yesterday to assist in a probe into an attack on opposition MP Khalid Samad just outside the Parliament building on Thursday, local media reported.

Mr Khalid, who is from Parti Amanah Negara, called Deputy Agriculture Minister Tajuddin Abdul Rahman menteri sial (meaning "damned minister" in Malay) during a shouting match in the House on Monday.

This followed a shouting match last week between Datuk Seri Tajuddin and opposition MPs, after he described Democratic Action Party MP Teresa Kok as the "only woman here with a Kok", reported The Star newspaper.

Whisked away seconds into the scuffle by policemen and parliament security personnel, Mr Khalid did not suffer any injuries.

The eight men and four women, supporters of Mr Tajuddin, were detained after they surrendered at a police station. This came after a warning by Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar that they had better turn up at the police station by 2pm yesterday, or the men in blue would start looking for them. Those detained were aged between 28 and 54.

TANTAMOUNT TO AN ACT OF TERROR

When someone commits an assault in a restricted area, it is equivalent to an act of terrorism.

DEPUTY HOME MINISTER NUR JAZLAN MOHAMED, on the attack on Mr Khalid in the Parliament compound.

Kuala Lumpur police chief Amar Singh Ishar Singh had described the incident as a riot, and ordered 10 individuals whom he named, including Mr Tajuddin's son Firdaus Tajuddin, to surrender.

"They will be investigated... for rioting," Mr Amar Singh told reporters, as quoted by the Malaysiakini news site.

The elder Tajuddin has denied that he brought the group into the Parliament complex.

The IGP said the police would decide if they would take legal action against a lawmaker, whom he did not name, for bringing the attackers into the complex. Visitors are regularly allowed to visit Parliament to listen to debates in the main hall or meet MPs.

The IGP said the police "wanted to act on the relevant lawmaker who had brought the group into the Parliament compound, depending on the MP's intentions", according to Malaysiakini.

Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed said visitors could enter Parliament only if they were sponsored by an MP, and called for action to be taken against the MP responsible.

"If these people were actually invited by an MP into this area to cause bodily harm, distress, the MP should also be brought before the rights and privileges committee," Malaysiakini reported Datuk Nur Jazlan as saying. "When someone commits an assault in a restricted area, it is equivalent to an act of terrorism," he added.

The IGP said: "I would not jump to a conclusion yet that it was an act of terrorism. Let us conduct the whole investigation - we call them up and interview them - then we will know what their real intention was."

Mr Khalid said he had received a lawyer's letter from the deputy agriculture minister, but said he would not apologise for his remarks unless Mr Tajuddin first apologised to Ms Kok over the name-calling.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2016, with the headline '12 detained in KL over attack on opposition MP'. Print Edition | Subscribe