SEGAR – PSM CENTRAL COMMITTEE MEMBER AND 3 LEADERS OF KUALA KUANG CONVICTED AND SENTENCED

Ipoh, 19 February 2010

This morning, PSM Central Committee Member K.Segar along with the three other Kuala Kuang Leaders were convicted by the Ipoh Magistrate Court for holding a procession in their village seven years ago. Magistrate Shah Wira bin Abdul Halim sentenced the four to 2 weeks jail and RM 5000 fine. The decision was greeted with protest and shouts of HIDUP RAKYAT and HIDUP PERJUANGAN. Long life the People and Long Life the Struggle. Villagers who packed the court room were disappointed with the decision.

After mitigation by the PSM’s lawyer, Comrade Vengkat, the court allowed a stay of execution with a RM 1,500 bail each. The villagers quickly raised the money and the four are expected to be released soon.

PSM Deputy Chairperson M.Saraswathy who was at the court condemn the conviction and said that we will keep protesting this decision. She said the Factory which was polluting the lives of the people have been shut down and this is a harsh decision by the court. PSM Secretary General, S.Arutchelvan said that PSM will protest this decision as the whole police action, the arrest and the convictions are package deals to silence public protest and to create fear. We will not be cowed by this.

BACKGROUND

The four were arrested on April 1st, 2001 when they were carrying a large 30 feet banner with the wording, " MB Tunai Janji, Segera Pindahkan Kilang". As the Committee with around hundreds of villagers were about to start the short march to erect the billboard at the roadside, the OCS of Kuala Kuang police station and another officer spoke to the leadership. They told the villagers that they cannot walk and if they do, then the police will have take action. After some argument from the committee that the march is within their compound and is peaceful. Finally the villagers negotiated that they will not carry the banner but instead walk to the desired location and then they will erect the billboard. The police agreed to this and the villagers marched on.

After a short distance, the police seemed to have gone against their word. Right in-front of Kuala Kuang police station, where a road block was placed, the police grabbed four leaders. They leaders arrested were Chai Sim Choong - The chairperson of the Action committee, 2 of his committee member Chong Min Tow and Tan Kim Siah. Also arrested were PSM and Alaigal coordinator K. Segar.

The four were then brought to a car and in a split second, the villagers surrounded the car. The police car could not move. The police were totally baffled. Some villagers in fact just wanted to liberate their comrades from police custody. At this point, Segar one of those arrested had to come out and using the police microphone told the people to calm down and not stop the police from doing their work. After his address, the four were then taken to the Chemor police station. In a short while, hundreds of villagers and supporters surrounded the police station. Villagers shouted slogan demanding the four be released. The police closed the main entrance. At a certain point, a police pajero nearly rammed into the crowd and nearly knocked Sdr. Dr. Kumar (PSM Central Committee member). This created further anger from the people.

At around, 12.30 afternoon., more policemen came to Chemor and then the four were handcuffed and taken to Ipoh Central police station with full police escort. At 12.45pm., the four were brought to the Ipoh Central Police Station. The crowd then started to build up at the central police station. By 2pm., hundred of people started to gather. The crowd started to became bigger and bigger. Supporters from other areas started to pour in. The Light Strike Force was on standby. The New Ipoh OCPD was seem walking restlessly as well as threatening to arrest people who gather. M.Saraswathy, PSM Deputy Chairperson then lodged a police report at around 2pm. questioning the police motive and action.

Between 2pm. till 3.15pm. The OCPD had three contacts with Dr. Kumar where at each occasion the OCPD position became weaker and weaker. At 2,30pm., cautioned statement was recorded from the four. Outside, the people started to shout slogan as well as prepare for a long wait. But didn't have to wait long. At around 4pm., all the four were released on police bail.

The four were later charged and the court case went on four seven years. For the past one-decade, the villagers of Kuala Kuang New Village have been fighting tooth and nail in trying to close down a rubber factory which has brought tremendous misery to the life of the villagers. The villages have done many actions to shut down the factory. This included two big demonstrations, more than a hundred police report and held several meetings with the State leaders. Last year, the villagers finally got a break when the new Perak Chief Minister then Tajol Rosli announced that the factory would be relocated in another area within two years.

Finally the struggle ended victorious when the factory stopped operation in 2004 and shifted out in 2005. Yet today among, the heroes who stopped this polluting factory are today convicted.

--
visit our website at
http://parti-sosialis.org