Gov’t Edgy Over Candlelight Protests

Paula leading the crowd with a freedom song

Anil Netto reports that in Penang:

2133: Singer-guitarist Paula Khoo was detained by police as the Abolish ISA vigil in Penang drew to a close after 8.30 pm, just about 30 minutes after it had begun. Ironically, Paula, who the emcee for the night, was detained minutes after leading the crowd in a rendition of “Sing a song of freedom”.

As the event was winding down, police including about a dozen light strike force personnel, arrived. An officer using a loud hailer gave the crowd ten minutes to disperse as the riot police stood in a row behind him. The crowd gradually dispersed, but unknown to many of them, Paula was quietly led to a police van and taken to the Patani Road police station.


Malaysiakini Report below:

A peaceful anti-ISA candlelight vigil in the Esplanade of Penang’s Georgetown on Saturday night was marred by the arrest of the event co-organiser, tuition teacher Paula Khoo.

penang anti isa vigil 151108 paula khoo.jpgKhoo, 47, a first-timer in organising such a vigil, was however released on police bail four hours later – at about 1am – when her husband, BS Khor, 51, signed the bail order.
She is required to report at the Jalan Patani police station on Nov 28.


Her arrest, minutes after the 40-minute vigil ended at 8.40pm drew criticisms from activists who described the police action as “unwarranted, irrational, and high-handed”.

Earlier, some 200 activists took part in the vigil, organised by a group called Penang Anti-ISA Network.

penang anti isa vigil 151108 candle light.jpgThe vigil was part of a public effort to urge the government to repeal the draconian Internal Security Act, which allows detention without trial.

The event was about to end when a police team, including a Light Strike Force unit, led by Lebuh Pantai police station chief Chief Inspector Alimin Ali told the crowd to disperse, which the activists duly obliged.

penang anti isa vigil 151108 crowd.jpgKhoo, a mother of two, was standing on the side of the road waiting for her husband’s car when a group of police officers told her to follow them to the city police headquarters in Jalan Patani to give a statement.

She, who appeared surprised, was subsequently whisked away in the police van.

Arrested for illegal assembly

At the police headquarters, Khoo was informed by an investigation officer that she was being arrested under Section 141 of the Penal Code for taking part in an illegal assembly

penang anti isa vigil 151108 police officer alimin.jpgDAP parliamentarians Liew Chin Tong and Jeff Ooi, former Gerakan national women leader Rhina Bhar, social activist BK Ong and 15 other anti-ISA activists were at the police headquarters to show their support for Khoo.

Upon her release, a tired but cheerful-looking Khoo told journalists that her brief ordeal had made her more appreciative of the plight of ISA detainees and their families.

She said the police have sought to compel her to ‘tell all’ about the anti-ISA vigil and the organisation behind it.

penang anti isa vigil 151108 paula ong boon keong and liew chin tong.jpgAccording to Ong (centre in photo), her arrest was unnecessary since the vigil had ended and the crowd was already leaving the venue.

Liew said the police should exercise restrain in their handling of peaceful assemblies.

At the vigil, Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng, Parti Rakyat Malaysia vice-president Gary GV Nair, PAS Bayan Baru assistant information chief Raziz Mohd Nor and several others spoke about the ‘evil’ of ISA and called for the repeal of the preventive detention law.




2 Responses to Gov’t Edgy Over Candlelight Protests

  1. Jarod says:

    When some one close to us go in, its just hard to imagine. Life wont be different. We got to be strong.
    Yes, she sacrificed her freedom so that Malaysians can be free and live without fear.

  2. Patricia says:

    I wasn’t in town, and without an internet connection, I imagined all was well when I didn’t hear from her! Imagine my surprise when I get an ‘I am well’ sms from her – implying that all wasn’t well after all!

    I talked to her yesterday, and she sounded in good spirits. What an awful and unnecessary thing to happen.

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