JOHOR BARU • Police in Malaysia say they are working to identify a group of men who allegedly attacked leaders of the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) who were holding a forum at a coffeeshop over the weekend.
Dozens of men, said to be Umno members and supporters, threw glasses and cups and flipped tables to disrupt the event in Masai, Johor.
Sunday's forum was attended by several DAP leaders, including veteran chief Lim Kit Siang and Johor party chairman and Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong, The Star reported.
Seri Alam acting police chief Deputy Superintendent Norazam Saari yesterday said the ruckus was triggered when Mr Liew touched on Umno-related issues during his speech. "A brief commotion broke out as the group of men tried to stop the MP from talking further.
"Policemen at the scene managed to control the situation, advised the group of men to disperse, and stopped the DAP forum for the public's safety."
Mr Liew had reportedly been criticising the government when a man walked into the packed coffeeshop and allegedly warned the DAP leaders to leave.
As the opposition group made their way out, they were blocked by some people who hurled vulgarities at them.
Mr Lim, 74, escaped unhurt, but his younger colleagues did not. The party's former Permas candidate, Mr Syed Othman Syed Abdullah, said he was slapped by a man he recognised as an Umno branch committee member; and Mr Liew was grabbed by the throat, The Malaysian Insider news site reported.
"They numbered about 100 while there were only 10 policemen present," Mr Syed Othman said.
Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor told the Malay Mail Online website that Mr Lim had likely provoked the attackers.
"Johor Umno will look into it. I don't know what happened but I have to say this: the opposition shouldn't provoke... you know humans will be humans," he said.
"We are not a hooligan party, we will discipline our members if they are wrong," he added.