Muslim welfare group Pekida's members not involved in brawl, says chief

There have been suggestions Pekida members were present during the stand-off with policemen near Low Yat Plaza.
There have been suggestions Pekida members were present during the stand-off with policemen near Low Yat Plaza.PHOTO: SIN CHEW DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR • The chief of Muslim welfare group Pekida yesterday denied that its members were involved in the brawl near Low Yat Plaza, and added that it will not hesitate to act if anyone was involved.

Speculation spread on Sunday night that Pekida, whose members have been accused of being involved in street fights over the years, had called out its members.

Five people were injured in the fight, which is believed to have started when a Malay youth allegedly shoplifted a phone on Saturday and was beaten up by the Chinese shop assistants. Later, two other groups arrived in the area to seek revenge.

Pekida president Jalaluddin Yusof, speaking to The Malaysian Insider news website yesterday, said Pekida will conduct an internal investigation if there are complaints that its members were involved in the brawl.

"If there are complaints that members are involved, we will investigate. If they were part of the provocative elements, we will take action. And, if they were merely defending themselves, we will scrutinise the matter," he was quoted as saying.

Pekida, formed 32 years ago, is the Malay acronym for the Islamic Welfare and Preaching Organisation of Malaysia. Mr Jalaluddin said Pekida has always been made a scapegoat when there are brawls involving Malay youth.

"Pekida members do not like to fight, we prefer that peace be maintained. It would appear that once again, Pekida has been made the scapegoat," Mr Jalaluddin said.

At least two media outlets on Sunday hinted at the group's presence during the stand-off with policemen near Low Yat Plaza, and the brawl that took place later.

Asked by the Insider whether there was a possibility that Pekida members were involved on Sunday, Mr Jalaluddin said he could not dismiss the possibility.

"Out of so many people, there is a possibility that some members may be there but officially, Pekida is not involved," he said. "We will refer to the authorities because we don't want our economy to be affected."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2015, with the headline 'Muslim welfare group Pekida's members not involved in brawl, says chief'. Print Edition | Subscribe