Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Standoff over Cheras barrier

The Star : Wednesday May 28, 2008


KUALA LUMPUR: Tensions ran high at Bandar Mahkota, Cheras, when hundreds of residents gathered to remove a barricade which was rebuilt early yesterday to prevent access into the area. Four people were arrested in the incident.

Grand Saga Sdn Bhd, the concessionaire of the Cheras-Kajang Highway, had reconstructed the barricade after it was taken down by the residents a few weeks ago.

A fracas ensued at about 7.15pm when a group of unidentified men armed with sticks and helmets attacked the residents. Several residents were taken to hospital. Also injured was a photographer from Utusan Malaysia, Roy Azis Abdul Aziz, who was beaten up when he tried to snap some photographs.

Several cars parked at the roadside were also smashed by the group. The group of men sat on the blocks, not allowing the residents to remove them and threatened to attack those who tried to go near the barricade. However, the group disappeared when the police arrived later.

On May 8, about 1,000 residents from the nearby areas demonstrated at Bandar Mahkota Cheras.

Kajang OCPD Asst Comm Shakaruddin Che Mood said Grand Saga Business Development and Corporate Affairs executive director Zainal Abidin Ali had written to him on Monday informing that they would rebuild the barricade, and requested for security. However, ACP Shakaruddin rejected the request as there was no court order on the matter.

Grand saga contractors started to rebuild the barricade at 12.30am and finished at about 6pm. Zainal Abidin said the barricade was built on an “indisputable area” within Grand Saga’s boundaries.

Until last night, five of the injured had lodged reports at the Kajang police headquarters. One of the victims, who only wanted to be known as Ina, said she and her husband with their four-year-old son were watching the drama when a group of men suddenly attacked them.

A resident, who only wanted to be known as Ken, said he was hit by a helmet and a pipe on his neck and back. “I was only watching them pairing down the concrete sledge when suddenly a bunch of people arrived and started beating everyone up. I ran after I was beaten several times but some others were injured quite badly,” said the 28-year-old.

Another resident Kenny Ki, 45, said a group of men came in two cars and five motorbikes. The residents disperse at 7.45pm but gathered again later to remove the barricades. At 10pm, the Federal Reserve Unit arrived in three trucks and two water canon trucks and gave three warnings to the residents to disperse.

At press time, only a handful of people were still gathering a distance away from the barricade and several policemen remained.

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