Malaysia

Journalist says Najib apologised for beating from Bersih rally

April 29, 2012

An ambulance is seen near Dataran Merdeka, following clashes between Bersih supporters and police, in Kuala Lumpur, April 28, 2012. — Picture by Choo Choy MayAn ambulance is seen near Dataran Merdeka, following clashes between Bersih supporters and police, in Kuala Lumpur, April 28, 2012. — Picture by Choo Choy MayKUALA LUMPUR, April 29 — A reporter from The Sun, who was allegedly assaulted by policemen during yesterday’s Bersih rally, said he received a personal apology from the prime minister over the incident, Malaysiakini reported today.

According to the news portal, Mohd Radzi Abdul Razak said Datuk Seri Najib Razak tendered the apology during a private moment at the reporter’s bed at Hospital Kuala Lumpur here this evening.

“‘I apologise for what has happened,’” Malaysiakini quoted Mohd Radzi, who was repeating the apology.

The prime minister was visiting Mohd Radzi, Al-Hijrah cameraman Mohd Azri Mohd Salleh as well as police officers Mohd Nasir Abu Mansor and Mohd Kamil Paimin, all of whom were injured during yesterday’s tumultuous rally.

Mohd Azri, 28, alleged that he was the victim of a mass assault by as many as 15 police officers, after he had sought to rescue a Bersih supporter from a beating at the hands of the police during the rally yesterday.

“I would be able to identify those who attacked me from video recordings” Mohd Azri was quoted as saying by Bernama Online today.

Mohd Nasir, meanwhile, said he and his colleague came under attack from unidentified men dressed in red.

Earlier today, press groups urged Najib to investigate alleged violence against journalists covering the yesterday’s Bersih rally.

The organisations highlighted six cases in which reporters were allegedly assaulted by the police while on duty, as well as the arrests of photojournalist Koh Jun Lin and photographer Huang An Jin, which they viewed as an attack against press freedom.

Police were alleged to have also manhandled journalists Arif Kartono, P. Malayandy, Harry Fawcett and Chen Shaua Fui, and either confiscated or damaged their equipment.

Yesterday’s Bersih rally for free and fair elections turned chaotic when Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) personnel began firing tear gas and water cannons after demonstrators breached police lines in their attempt to reach Dataran Merdeka.

The event was initially planned for the historic square but authorities had secured a court order on Friday barring its use for public assemblies until May 1, forcing Bersih supporters to splinter into groups.

*An error was made, where a quote was misattributed. The article has been changed to rectify the error. We apologise for the oversight.