IPOH: A group claiming to be members of the Human Rights Party Malaysia failed on Sunday to hand over a memorandum seeking Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah’s intervention in issues pertaining to religious conversion.
Instead, the group was involved in a brief standoff with the police at the Impiana Hotel car park, just 300m away from Istana Kinta, resulting in one of them being arrested.
The party’s national information chief S. Jayathas said party members had planned to walk to the palace from its headquarters in First Garden but was advised against doing so by the police.
He said they were told that only one vehicle with four people would be allowed into the palace.
A smaller group led by pro-tem secretary-general P. Uthayakumar were already waiting at the hotel car park.
While ferrying Jayathas and one of three Muslim convert women who were supposed to hand over the memorandum to the palace, one member was dragged away in handcuffs after he defied orders to stop his vehicle.
The man, 53-year-old retired army sergeant M. Balakrishnan was also alleged to have hurled profanities against policemen when they tried to take away his car keys.
An argument ensued between the group’s leaders and the police over how many people would be allowed to enter the palace ground.
Thirty minutes later Ramesh and Uthayakumar announced that none of them would go to the palace if only four people were allowed in.
They instead left the memorandum on the bonnet of a police car after the police refused to hand it over to the palace on their behalf.
The group, together with Muslim converts S. Banggarma and Rajina Mohd Zaini@Krishnan, dispersed at about noon.
They then headed to the Ipoh district police headquarters to lodge a report against the police for alleged aggression and misuse of power.
Acting Ipoh OCPD Supt Ibrahim Abu Bakar said the group had never intended to hand over the memorandum and was merely seeking publicity.
“The police had given them more than an hour to hand it over and yet they came up with excuses after excuses not to.
“We have been very accommodating and patient,” he said, adding that the police would study the memorandum, which was left behind, but was unsure if it would be handed over to the palace after that.
The rally's estimated to be 100 000 people gathered outside the Petronas Twin Towers at midnight, early Sunday morning.At least 240 people were detained, but half of them were later released. One day before the rally, police arrested three HINDRAF lawyers, P. Uthayakumar, P. Waytha Moorthy and V. Ganabatirau for sedition charges. Uthayakumar and Ganabatirau posted bail of 800 Malaysian ringgits each, but Waytha Moorthy refused bail as a sign of protest.