Full Story Behind The Arrest Of 156 PPS Members While You Were Celebrating Merdeka

156 members of the Penang Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS) were picked up by the police station after participating in march for Hari Merdeka. SAYS has the full recap of the 3-day controversy here.

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156 Members Of The Penang Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS), Aged 18 To 67, Were Arrested By The Police On Sunday, 31 August

The members, consisting people of all ages including senior citizens, were then taken on a bus to the George Town police headquarters in Jalan Patani here.

Abdul Rahim said there were 131 Chinese men, seven Chinese women, seven Indian men and 10 Malay men detained. He added that the detained PPS members were aged between 18 and 67 and they were from various backgrounds, from students, to those employed in the private sector as well as the government.

Police sources said 154 PPS members, including seven women, were picked up soon after the procession. Police also seized purple vests, membership cards and other items.

The PPS Members Were Participating In A State-Level Merdeka Parade At Esplanade When 50 Policemen Swooped In And Took Them To A Nearby Police Station

The group of PPS members marched past the VIPs during the celebration in Esplanade at 10.10am Sunday. As soon as they reached the state legislative assembly in Light Street, about 50 policemen then escorted them to the police station.

Some 150 Penang Voluntary Patrol (PPS) unit members were escorted to the Beach Street police station soon after they took part in a state-level Merdeka procession here.

In the 10am incident, the PPS members, clad in their signature purple vests, were one of the contingents participating in a march past for the Merdeka Day celebration parade at the Esplanade.

One Day Later, DAP Assemblyman R.S.N. Rayer, Who Is The Chairman Of The PPS' Constituency-Level Committee In Seri Delima, Was Also Arrested

Rayer, who is the chairman of the PPS’s constituency-level committee in Seri Delima, was the latest to be arrested by the police after 156 members of the unit were arrested on Sunday following their participation in the state-level Merdeka Day parade.

Seri Delima assembly member R.S.N Rayer (pic) was released early this morning after being detained overnight for his involvement in the Penang government’s Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS). The DAP lawmaker was let out on police bail at 4am today. He was detained at the George Town district police headquarters since 3pm yesterday when he was giving his statement.

Earlier, ACP Mior said Rayer was arrested and investigated under Section 43 of the Societies Act 1966 for being a member of an unlawful society. The offence carries a maximum of three years jail, or a RM5,000 fine, or both, if convicted.

The Arrest Of The Penang Voluntary Patrol Unity (PPS) That Was Formed To Assist The Public From Traffic To Disasters Caused A Public Outcry

Penang Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS) was formed by the state government in May 2011 to assist the public in all situations including directing traffic, in times of disaster and to patrol the streets as a preventive measure against crime. Currently, there are more than 9,000 PPS members in the state and the members have all undergone various training courses that include first aid and disaster management.

Aliran has said the timing of the arrests of PPS members seems strangely provocative and asks if this action was authorised by the Attorney General. “At a time when the authorities, including the police, need to avoid circumstances which can heighten tension and threaten our peace and harmony, why has there been a lack of discretion, patience and prudence?” Aliran asked in a statement.

Aliran said the recent episode further undermined the credibility of the police to act in a fair and even-handed manner while appealing to authorities to refrain from letting freedom and justice be trampled upon by whichever quarter on the anniversary of the country’s independence.

Lim Kit Siang Says The Inspector-General Of Police Single-Handedly Reduced The Prime Minister's Message Of Unity To Shambles When He Ordered The Mass Arrest Of Good Samaritans Like Common Criminals

“Najib tried to create history this Merdeka Anniversary when he broke the tradition of pre-recorded Merdeka speeches and spoke live on Merdeka Eve to make “eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart” connection with all Malaysians to show the spirit of patriotism. “But one man, the Inspector-General of Police, single-handedly reduced to shambles in less than 24 hours the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s three messages on unity, confidence and prosperity,” said Lim.

“However, Najib’s break with tradition came to nought as his three Merdeka messages of unity, confidence and prosperity were torn to shreds by the Inspector-General of Police the next morning when the No. 1 police officer in the land personally directed the mass arrests of over a hundred Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS – Pasukan Peronda Sukarela) members in Penang immediately after their participation in the Merdeka Parade in Penang”, said Lim in a statement today.

Lim said “Something has gone very wrong with our nation when Good Samaritans ever-ready to give of their time, energies and service to help less fortunate citizens are treated as common criminals”.

“The ball is in Najib’s court. He did nothing to ensure that over a hundred patriotic and exemplary citizens who are PPS members do not spend a night in the police lock-ups yesterday. Is he going to continue to be silent and indifferent to the mass arrests of PPS members with over a hundred of them held in custody in police lock-ups?”

Penang PKR Youth Information Chief Aidil Ibrahim Suggested That The Arrests Were Politically Motivated, Stating That It Has Marred What Was Meant To Be A Harmonious Merdeka Celebration

Penang PKR Youth information chief Aidil Ibrahim said the arrests have marred what was meant to be the harmonious celebration of the nation’s Independence Day by people from all walks of life today. "We strongly condemn the police in taking action to detain the PPS members during a Merdeka celebration,” he said. He called on the police to immediately release the 200 Penang volunteer patrol members unconditionally.

“Their shocking arrest today is proof that the police are unaware of those who had assisted in security issues in villages and residential areas while also assisting the police in prevention of crime,” he said in a statement issued today in response to the arrest this morning.

Aidil noted today that the Village Security and Development Committees (JKKK) that serve a similar function were also not a registered body, yet was not considered an illegal organisation. “The police should not become a tool for Barisan Nasional (BN) in penalising PPS but should be cooperating with the PPS members to provide social service to the community,” he said.

Yet, Penang Chief Police Officer Abdul Rahim Hanafi Has Says The Arrests Have Nothing To Do With Politics

Penang CPO Abdul Rahim Hanafi said there was nothing political in the arrests of members of the Penang Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS) and that the arrests were carried out purely on legal grounds. “This action on PPS is purely on legal grounds. It’s nothing to do with politics,” stressed Abdul Rahim.

He also said that police had never received any applications to vet members of the PPS unit, as was claimed by the Penang government. “I have never commended the state for setting up the unit and my men have never conducted patrols with them,” he was quoted as saying in the report.

Inspector-General Of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar Says The PPS Members Were Arrested As The Patrol Unit Was An Unlawful Society Not Registered With The Registrar Of Societies (ROS)

Earlier this week, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the police are investigating the PPS under Section 41 of the Societies Act as the group is not registered with the Registrar of Societies (RoS). He then warned PPS members of arrest if they continued to participate in the unit’s activities.

Rahim said the police had obtained a one-day remand for 135 PPS members in order to facilitate investigations for violations under the Societies Act as the patrol unit was an unlawful society.

“We seized membership cards, berets, walkie-talkies, purple T-shirts and vests from the members," he was reported as saying, adding that those detained were aged 17 to 18 years old. “We will continue our blitz on the remaining PPS members who are still at large."

Furthermore, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Says Police Have Information That The Unit Acted Like Vigilantes. There Have Been Reports Of A 51-Year-Old Man Allegedly Beaten Up By PPS Members.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar also reportedly said police have information that the unit acted like vigilantes and that the PPS members must be stopped from getting out of hand.

The PPS has been in the limelight recently after a 51-year-old man lodged a police report alleging that two PPS members had beaten him up. The duo lodged police reports in return to deny the allegations and claimed the man had attacked first.

This issue led to an uproar with Barisan Nasional leaders urging for the unit to be disbanded with Malay rights group Perkasa lodging police reports urging the police to investigate the unit’s activities.

Following The Arrests, Police Found That 11 Of The Arrested PPS Members Had Prior Criminal Records

Even as police continue their crackdown on the Penang Voluntary Patrol (PPS), it has been revealed that 11 of the 156 members detained had criminal records for theft, robbery, homicide and offences related to drugs and triads, The Star reported today.

State police chief Datuk Wira Abdul Rahim Hanafi said that one member had been detained under the Emergency Ordinance for his ties with a secret society, before it was repealed.

Rahim revealed the PPS members who possessed criminal records came under Section 304, 379, 380, and 392 of the Penal Code, respectively, and also various drugs offences, and customs laws. “Some of them have records for attempted murder, theft, break-ins and robbery. The suspect who was a former EO detainee was convicted for a drug offence previously,” he said.

There Were Also Reports That Four Were Tested Positive For Drugs, But Lim Guan Eng Claims That The Four Were Senior Citizens On Prescription Medication

“One of them has been arrested under the Emergency Ordinance Act and four were tested positive for drugs,” he told reporters in George Town, Penang.

Abdul Rahim also said it was not the police’s duty to distinguish the type of drugs consumed by those they had arrested, in response to state Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s claims that the four who reportedly tested positive for drugs were senior citizens on prescription medication and not illegal narcotics.

“The urine sample we took tested positive for drugs and will be sent to Chemistry Department, depending on the chemistry report to determine whether the drug traces were legal or are narcotics,” the policeman said. He also said the police have records of 30 per cent of the PPS members.

Abdul Rahim Hanafi Urged Remaining PPS Members To Surrender, Saying That The Police Will Arrest All PPS Members As The Unit Is An Illegal Organisation

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State police chief Datuk Wira Abdul Rahim Hanafi, the state's top cop, also called on remaining PPS members to surrender, saying that authorities had details of at least 30% (2,700) of its members. “PPS is an illegal organisation, so we will arrest all its members. There is no deadline. Therefore, I urge the members to surrender themselves to the police."

DAP, "The Inspector-General Of Police Must Know This Fact That PPS Is Not A Gangster Group Or Secret Society. It Is A Body Set Up By The Penang State Government."

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Penang's Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS) is not a dangerous outlaw group, DAP said today in continuing its criticism against police's actions against the body. DAP vice-chairman Teresa Kok, in calling for the men in blue to stop threatening and arresting members of the anti-crime group, saying it was up to the court to decide on the legitimacy of the three-year-old unit.

She said police have no right to apprehend PPS members as it was legally formed under the Penang state government. "The Inspector-General of Police must know this fact that PPS is not a gangster group or secret society. It is a body set up by the Penang state government," she said.

"Until it has been cleared that PPS is an illegal body and what they do is against the laws, there was no necessity and justification for police to take such action, especially when PPS’s activity yesterday was only attending a state-level Merdeka event," she said in a statement.

The Penang State Government Has Defended The Unit And Are Offering Legal Assistance To The Members. In Solidarity Of PPS, All State Events That Required The Unit's Assistance Have Been Called Off.

The state government subsequently defended the unit, with the Penang chief minister saying they would offer legal assistance to the unit members and defend them if they were “wrongly arrested” for participating in PPS activities.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng challenged Inspector-General Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar for a debate on the outlawed Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS). Lim said if the top cop was right in arresting 156 PPS members, then Khalid should prove it. "If Khalid thinks he is right in the arrests, then I challenge him for a debate”.

All state events that would need the surveillance and assistance of the Voluntary Patrol Team (PPS), which is governed by the Penang state government, would be called off today pending police investigations, said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said that this was the way of the 10,000 odd PPS members in Penang to show support and solidarity for their 154 comrades who were rounded up by police this morning after the state Merdeka Day parade where the PPS was one of the 96 contingents which participated in a march-past.

On Monday, 1 Sept, Police Released All 156 PPS Members To A Large Group Of Supporters Outside The Police Station

Ayer Itam assemblyman Wong Hon Wai said there were no untoward incidents during the detention, and that those released were trying to get back to their normal lives with their families and careers. “Many of them have gone back to their work and businesses this morning,” he said.

Wong said generally the members were fine. It is learnt they were also treated professionally by Penang police, notwithstanding the lengthy hours of questioning.

They were given rousing reception as they walked out from the George Town district police headquarters in batches. Each was given a rose and were cheered by a large group of supporters waiting outside.

Upon His Release, State Executive Councillor Phee Boon Poh Broke Down In Tears When He Saw The Penang CM Together With A Large Crowd Of Supporters. "If I Was Taken For The Betterment Of Penang, Then I Am Willing To Make This Sacrifice."

State executive councillor Phee Boon Poh, who is in charge of the PPS, was also detained but released on bail yesterday evening.

Earlier this evening, state welfare, caring society and environment committee chairman Phee Boon Poh was released together with a few of the PPS members who were arrested yesterday.

Phee, who walked out of the station looking tired, met with his family members and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng then broke down in tears as he was received by a large crowd outside the gates of the Northeast District police headquarters.

After being garlanded, Phee thanked his friends, supporters, Pakatan Rakyat party members and the media for giving him the encouragement to stay strong. "If I was taken for the betterment of Penang, then I am willing to make this sacrifice," he said in between tears.

What Happens Now To The PPS With 9,002 Members?

The executive council also made a decision to rest the members of the 9,002-strong PPS from all relevant activities in Penang until the court’s decision on the legality of the body.

The Penang state executive council has called on the public and civil society to take over the role played by the embattled Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS) in helping the police to combat crime. In its resolution made today, the council said it hoped that local communities can help by undertaking community policing to prevent crime and maintain Penang’s standing as among the safest states in Malaysia.

It stressed that the PPS is a legitimate organisation as it was instituted under the state government on April 8, 2009. “Since its approval, the PPS has undertaken its duties well and with the blessings of the police,” the resolution said. “For the last four years, PPS has not faced any problems with the police except one or two incidents on which disciplinary action has already been taken by the state government and punishment meted by the court.”

The council regarded the 156 members who were arrested yesteday as “heroes of the people of Penang” as they were being held not for doing anything that had broken the law, but in executing their noble welfare work, the resolution said.

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